By Daniel Strauss - 05/06/12 02:59 PM EDT
Vice President Joe Biden voiced his support for same-sex couples having "the same exact rights" as heterosexual couples.
"I am Vice President of the United States of America," Biden said on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday. "The president sets the policy. I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual men marrying women are entitled to the same exact rights. All the civil rights, all the civil liberties. And quite frankly I don’t see much of a distinction beyond that."
President Obama does not support same-sex marriage although he does support civil unions. Liberals and some prominent Democratic politicians have been calling on Obama to fully embrace same-sex marriage as part of his reelection campaign. Obama, for his part, has said his views on same sex marriage are "evolving."
Some reports of Biden's comments said Biden was endorsing same sex marriage. The White House stressed immediately after Biden made the comments that they were no different than previous statements he had made on the issue. A White House official said Biden was just saying that same sex couples should have the same rights as other Americans.
"The Vice President was saying what the President has said previously – that committed and loving same sex couples deserve the same rights and protections enjoyed by all Americans, and that we oppose any effort to rollback those rights," a spokesperson for the vice president said. "That’s why we stopped defending the constitutionality of section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act in legal challenges and support legislation to repeal it. Beyond that, the Vice President was expressing that he too is evolving on the issue, after meeting so many committed couples and families in this country."
Similarly, David Axelrod, a top strategist for the Obama campaign, said that Biden's comments did not at all differ from Obama's position on same sex marriage.
"What VP said-that all married couples should have exactly the same legal rights-is precisely POTUS's position," Axelrod tweeted.