Vice President Joe Biden came out enthusiastically, unmistakably in support of same-sex marriage over the weekend, heartening the issue's supporters and sending the White House into damage-control overdrive. During a Meet the Press interview, Biden said:
"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."
He continued that the issue boils down to "who do you love?" and "will you be loyal to the person you love?" adding, "That's what people are finding out is what, what all marriages, at their root, are about. Whether they're marriages of lesbians or gay men or heterosexuals."
In the wake of Biden's comments, the White House immediately clarified that they didn't reflect any actual policy change, and even during his interview Biden clarified, "I am Vice President of the United States of America. The President sets the policy." Same-sex marriage advocates aren't impressed with the White House's attempt to downplay Biden's support, and one former advisor to Bill Clinton on the issue said, "Trying to walk this back will only hurt them. You can't clarify an answer as direct and candid and expansive as the one he gave."
Waffling or no, this does make Biden the highest-up person in the White House to support same-sex marriage (as you may recall, Obama's views on the issues are "evolving" and he currently endorses civil unions), and many suspect that until the election is over, the President is encouraging aides to publicly support same-sex marriage to indicate his own private stance on an issue that can be volatile with swing voters. So, does this mean the Vice President might have actually done something strategic instead of having one of his patented "outbursts?" Joe, we barely recognize you.