Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D) dodged repeated questions on whether he supported gay marriage Tuesday morning, saying he's for "legal equality of relationships" but avoiding taking a stance on whether he supported civil unions or gay marriage.
Speaking at the centrist Democratic think tank Third Way in Washington, the Senate candidate argued that gay couples should have the same legal rights as straight ones but would not say whether that meant he personally supported gay marriage or whether he thought it should be legal, even after reporters pointed out that Virginia gives out legal marriage certificates and not civil union certificates.
"The underlying issue is, should committed couples have the same legal rights and responsibilities? and the answer to that is an unequivocal yes," he said. "I believe in the legal equality of relationships. The debate about 'Is it marriage, is it a civil union, is it domestic partnership?' — I kind of let that one go, and say the legal issue is, Should committed couples be treated the same by law? And I think the answer is yes. Just as we do now, churches would be able to make their own decisions about which relationships they'd want to celebrate — that wouldn't change — but as a matter of law I do fundamentally believe that couples should be treated equally."
When asked if he believed if marriage equality is a civil right, he reframed the issue.