Vice President Joe Biden put his foot in President Obama’s mouth on Sunday when he said, “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,” on this week’s edition of Meet the Press. It’s not the fact that he announced support for same-sex marriage that has tongues wagging, but how his remarks have drawn attention to the fact that the president has not. In addition Education Secretary Arne Duncan also declared his support during a Monday morning interview on MSNBC.
The president has long contended that he supports gay rights and opposes any efforts to discriminate against same sex couples. But when it comes to gay marriage, the president can’t make a commitment because he’s still “evolving” on the issue. One pundit said it’s an evolution that would confound Darwin. Cynics have suggested that the president is waiting until after Election Day to give a definitive answer.
Either way, the president is stuck between a rock and a few hard places. Polls show the nation increasingly embracing gay marriage, but if Obama were to publically support it he risks turning off religiously conservative independents, African-Americans and Latinos in swing states like North Carolina, Florida and Virginia. At the same time, gay-rights groups and the LGBT community are growing impatient. With Mitt Romney and his super PAC friends spending loads of money in their effort to oust him from the White House, Obama can ill-afford to alienate the gay community.
“Gay money in this election has replaced Wall Street money,” NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd said on the Monday edition of MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
Todd also predicted Monday that the president will announce support for marriage equality before the Democratic National Convention.
He may have to say “I do” much sooner than that. Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat, in rare agreement with former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, on Tuesday said Obama should “man up” and take a definitive stand on the issue.
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(Photo: PhotoAlto / Anges Costes / Getty Images)