The Election-Year Politics of Same-Sex Marriage

National Journal Staff

Vice President Joe Biden may have stopped short on Sunday of pledging that the administration will embrace same-sex marriage, but his personal support for gay rights underlined the fact that the White House has stuck to a politically safer middle ground on the issue.

While making it clear that Obama sets administration policy, Biden went on to say that on NBC’s Meet the Press, “I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying one another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties.”

Biden is now the highest ranking member of the Obama administration to endorse same-sex marriage. Obama, by contrast, has said he supports civil unions and that his position on same-sex marriage in general is “evolving.”

The careful choice of words places Obama in a murky gray area of support that risks alienating a key group of backers that could help him in the election. However, any step to the left of that statement could risk offending undecided voters or moderates that could be crucial to victory in battleground states nationwide. Read more

—Kelsey Snell


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