Joe Biden “Comfortable” With Same-Sex Marriage

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.

The latest on gay marriage from the executive branch:

Vice President Joseph R. Biden said on Sunday that he was “comfortable” with same-sex marriages, a position that appeared to go beyond the “evolving” views that President Obama has said he holds on the issue. “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,” Mr. Biden said in an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

….Mr. Biden prefaced his remark in his NBC interview by saying, “The president sets the policy,” and his aides later indicated that the views he expressed were his own. The White House immediately suggested on Sunday that the vice president had articulated no change in the administration’s official position on same-sex marriage. But gay rights advocates said that Mr. Biden’s remarks seemed to convey unmistakable support for their biggest cause.

Like a lot of liberals, I don’t believe that Obama really opposes same-sex marriage. He just considers it politically expedient to keep pretending otherwise.

If that’s true, it’s an interesting case study in the way the media has changed politics. In the past, presidents (and presidential candidates) had an easier time with this kind of tricky issue. They could say one thing to one audience and another thing to another. Or they could say one thing in public but then wink in the other direction in private. Those in the know understood what was going on, and often there was sort of a tacit agreement to keep the president’s “real” view private. It was a game, since the president might actually be scamming the insiders rather than the rubes, but it was a well-worn game.

But you can’t do that anymore. The internet and 24-hour news networks make it flatly impossible to say different things to different audiences. You can take a slightly different tone with different audiences, but that’s it. And even winking and nodding to insiders is dangerous. There’s simply no tacit agreement to keep this stuff private anymore, so your best bet is maintain iron self-discipline and never give anyone a peek behind the curtain. You stay on your talking points at all times and in all places.

And Barack Obama, whatever else you think about him, seems to have cast iron self-discipline. In that sense, he really does represent the future of politics. You can decide for yourself whether you like that future much.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.