By Mike Lillis - 05/08/12 01:43 PM EDT
An overwhelming majority of House Democrats sides with Vice President Biden in support of gay marriage, the chairman of the Democratic Caucus said Tuesday.
Biden made waves this week when he broke with President Obama to endorse the legal right of gay couples to marry. Obama, who has said he’s “evolving” on the issue, has stopped short of endorsing marriage.
“But a vast majority of our caucus is where Biden is,” Larson added.
Appearing Sunday on NBC's “Meet the Press” in an interview taped on Friday, Biden declared he is “absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual men and women are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties.”
A day later, Education Secretary Arne Duncan joined Biden in endorsing the idea of legal marriage between same-gender couples.
Top Obama aides quickly argued that Biden’s comments were consistent with Obama’s position.
Chief Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod said Biden's comments are “entirely consistent with the president's position, which is that couples who are married, whether they’re gay or heterosexual couples, are entitled to the very same rights and the very same liberties.”
Special interest groups also weighed in immediately, with gay marriage advocates and opponents both using the vice president's remarks to promote their message.
Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said gay-rights supporters “welcome the clarity” of Biden's comments and urged Obama to get on board.
“We call upon President Obama to join Vice President Biden in clearly stating his comfort with same-sex couples getting married,” Carey said in a statement. “People from every community, faith, economic and political background know that denying marriage to loving couples and families benefits no one; it only hurts families.”
Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, had another take, accusing Biden of “declaring war on those 30 states in America that have adopted constitutional amendments defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”
“What Joe Biden wants — genderless marriage that kowtows to the demands of gay couples — cannot exist alongside traditional marriage,” Brown said in a statement. “Only one definition of marriage can exist.”