Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
On Meet the Press, Biden said
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.
The walk-back scramble began almost immediately, with efforts to convince everyone that Biden hadn’t said what he said, but is really right there with Obama, evolving.
For an indication of how bad things are, check out the transcript of Jake Tapper, and others, questioning WH spokesperson Jay Carney, via Pam’s Houseblend. It’s much too long to post the whole thing, but Tapper and others relentlessly pressed Carney about Obama’s, and Biden’s, views on marriage equality. This whole exchange serves as an example of “what goes wrong when you’re stuck repeating the same two or three talking points over and over and over.”
A very brief selection from the transcript, with Pam supplying the headline:
The #FAIL of Carney’s waffling and redirection and dodging is EPIC.
Q … This morning, the Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, put himself on record in favor of gay marriage. Yesterday, the Vice President indicated something along the same lines. Does this box the President in ahead of the election? Have his views changed at all on this subject?
MR. CARNEY: Well, I have no update on the President’s personal views. What the Vice President said yesterday was to make the same point that the President has made previously …
That’s followed by the now very familiar list of Obama’s accomplishments on behalf of the LGBT communities. The repetition of “personal view,” “no update,” and Biden’s saying the same thing Obama is saying, along with the list of accomplishments, basically provided Carey’s response to every question.
Q Jay, on June 23rd, he told an LGBT audience, ‘Everybody deserves to be able to live and love as they see fit. … ’ What is he referring to if not gay marriage? …
Q … how (is) Vice President Biden … saying that he is absolutely comfortable with men marrying men and women marrying women having equal rights, is not an endorsement of gay marriage?
MR. CARNEY: Well, I think the Vice President expressed his personal views. He also said he was evolving on the issue. I think the description –
Q When did he say that?
Q He did not say that, Jay.
MR. CARNEY: He did.
Q No. His spokesperson said that afterwards.
MR. CARNEY: Let me just be clear, though. The Vice President — what he said about the protection of rights of citizens is completely consistent with the President’s position on this issue …
Q You’re trying to have it both ways before an election. …
MR. CARNEY: No. Look, this President has been extremely aggressive in supporting LGBT rights. …
Q Positing that the President has done more for LGBT individuals than any other President in history — so you don’t need to say that again — (laughter) — the question is –
MR. CARNEY: But I will.
Q … I think there are very few people who think that the President is not going to, after November, whether he’s reelected or not, come out in favor of same-sex marriage. … It seems cynical to hide this until after the election.
MR. CARNEY: Jake, I think the President’s position is well known. … I don’t have an update …
Q It’s not that I don’t want to hear it. I don’t want to hear the same talking points 15 times in a row. …
Q … where would the President be then on the amendment in North Carolina that would ban gay marriage?
MR. CARNEY: The President, through the campaign — but the same person opposes efforts to deny the rights of citizens in any state where those rights have been established.
Q So he opposes — so help me out there. He opposes bans on gay marriage but he doesn’t yet support gay marriage? …
There is much more of the same. And there is speculation that Obama will come out for marriage equality after the election, and that Biden is positioning himself for 2016. Whatever. The point isn’t political games for same-gender couples who want to marry. It’s about equality.
For more information and other takes on what’s happening, here are some links:
John Aravosis, Marriage-gate continues; Joe Biden has evolved. Why not Obama?; White House Press Sec being grilled by reporters over Biden’s endorse of gay marriage; Signorile on Obama’s ‘gay panic’; Some top gay donors allegedly withholding donations to Obama SuperPAC, (this one about Obama’s refusal to sign an executive order barring same sex discrimination by federal contractors).
Lisa Keen, Biden: Pressuring Obama, or paving the way.
There are multiple stories at Think Progress, including Media Coverage Of Biden’s Remarks Demonstrates That Marriage Equality Is A Mainstream Position.
Joe My God, Obama’s Balancing Act On Marriage.
This continues to get attention because Mr. Obama’s “trying to have it both ways” position on marriage equality appears so purely political. But who knows? Maybe he really is unsure about same-gender marriage. I kind of doubt it, but at some point, you have to wonder.
Just as important to remember: Mitt Romney signed a pledge to amend the U.S. Constitution to make “same-sex” marriage even more illegal than it already is.