By Daniel Borgen, PQ Monthly
You know it’s an election year when an administration is scrambling to spin a clear, unambiguous declaration from one of its top officials. Yesterday, vice president Joe Biden expressed his “comfort” with marriage equality during an interview with David Gregory of Meet the Press–The Advocate brought us the recap. And he didn’t really express comfort as much as he made an all-out endorsement.
His quote: “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.” That’s right, all of them.
Sounds pretty clear to us.
Today, though, administration officials are all spins and clarifications. White House press secretary Carney today: “I have no updates 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 committed and loving same-sex couples deserve the same rights and protections enjoyed by all Americans.”
Well, that’s not exactly what Biden said. Biden said he’s comfortable with men marrying men, not civil union-ing them. Spin doctors!
Furthermore: “Carney said Biden’s statements were ‘misinterpreted.’ He called Biden’s contention that there’s no difference between same-sex marriage and heterosexual marriage a ‘personal view’ and claimed that ‘nothing has changed’ from the president himself.”
Guess what, Carney, your vice president was on Meet the Press. Giving an interview. As the vice president. Uh…
(In all fairness, Biden’s office also tried to “clarify” his statement post-interview.)
Yes, we get it. It’s an election year and the political stakes couldn’t be higher. So, are Biden’s comments a harbinger of what’s to come? Will the president endorse marriage equality before November–or play it safe and “come out” after? Should Carney’s comments carry more weight than Biden’s?
Chad Griffin, incoming HRC president, had this to say: “Only in Washington and in politics could someone attempt to parse the words of what the vice president of the United States said on Meet the Press. His words speak for themselves — and they send an incredibly important message outside Washington to the young LGBT teenager hearing the vice president of the United States talk about his belief in marriage equality and the fact that he or she can grow up and have the same dreams and aspirations as their friends, their colleagues, their parents.”
What say you, dear readers? Tired of the song and dance? Or expected, acceptable election year politics?