Biden: Marriage equality is 'the issue of our day'

Posted by Justin Snow
September 16, 2013 11:03 AM |

Joe Biden official.jpg

Vice President Joe Biden stood firm behind his decision to endorse same-sex marriage in May 2012, describing marriage equality as the civil rights issue of our day during a Sunday fundraiser.

"A lot of people criticized me for speaking out, not long ago, about gay marriage. I could not remain silent any longer," Biden said, according to Politico. "It's the civil rights of our day. It's the issue of our day."

Biden's remarks came during an appearance in Iowa at Sen. Tom Harkin's annual steak-fry fundraiser and alluded to his May 2012 appearance on Meet the Press that some believe prompted President Barack Obama to come out for same-sex marriage just three days later. 

Asked by David Gregory during that appearance if he was comfortable with same-sex marriage, Biden responded, "I am vice president of the United States of America. The president sets the policy. I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying another 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." 

Biden has long been outspoken in his support for LGBT rights. During a campaign appearance in October, Biden described transgender rights as the "civil rights issue of our time."

Biden's Sunday remarks marked the second time in one week the vice president spoke to his endorsement of same-sex marriage. During a Thursday event at the vice president's residence celebrating the 19th anniversary of the the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which Biden originally drafted and was reauthorized this year with protections for LGBT people, Biden voiced no regrets for his May 2012 remarks.

Although Biden blamed "this sort of Neanderthal crowd" in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives for slowing down the legislation, he said that GOP opposition to adding protections for LGBT victims of abuse stems from a lack of education, according to a White House pool report. Noting when he "went off script" during his Meet the Press appearance, Biden added, "I make no apologies on the issue of marriage."

[Photo: Joe Biden. Credit: Official White House Photo by David Lienemann.] 

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