Gay marriage: I'm into it, but not ready to commit

08 May 2012 | 8:15 - By Matthew Hall

“Who do you love?” asked Vice-President Joe Biden on Sunday. “And will you be loyal to the person you love?”


Gay rights and marriage equality is on the radar (AP)

Biden was not calling for universal adoration of President Obama but, instead, was trying to take politics out of an issue that has become very politicised in many countries – not just the United States.

The issue of same-sex marriage.

On Meet The Press, one of a series of American Sunday morning TV interviews that like to set the tone for the political week ahead, Biden stressed he was only the Vice-President and that Obama set the administration’s agenda.

But he wanted to be very clear.

“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,” Biden said.

The VP added he didn’t know if the administration would come out in favour of same-sex marriage if reelected but pointed to the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, among other Obama policies, as an example of civil rights by stealth, for want of a better term.

“It’s evolving,” said Biden.

Which is a gentle way of saying "I’m kind of into it but not ready to commit". One reason for that hesitancy is that a lot of America isn’t so into same-sex marriage as Biden may be. See what happened in hippy liberal California and its to-and-from campaign to recognise the concept.

Biden’s TV appearance prompted Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod to tweet “What VP said-that all married couples should have exactly the same legal rights-is precisely POTUS's position.”

Axelrod hoisted that flag again with journalists on a later conference call adding Obama’s contrast with Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney on related issues.

According to the Washington Post, Romney has “funded efforts to roll back marriage laws in California and other places,” and “believes we need a constitutional amendment banning the right of gay couples to marry,” Axelrod said, adding that Romney would “take us backward, not forward, so there’s a very clear distinction in this race.”

Support for gay marriage, even with its basis as a basic civil rights issue, is not a huge vote winner and Obama still has to win votes to be reelected. It also remains, in law, largely an issue for states.

But while states can decide who can and cannot marry, the Federal government still denies benefits to married same sex couples from New York, Massachusetts and Iowa (that passed same-sex marriage bills) as well as constructing huge hurdles for citizenship for foreign spouses.

But Biden’s comments, as ambiguous as they were, did serve a purpose. The US media spent Monday debating what they really meant; Obama and Biden signaled to a demographic that they recognised the issue even if they had not been able to perform on the issue; and, by the way, that the Defense of Marriage Act still exists.

That’s a 1996 federal law that states marriage is the legal union of one man and one woman. No one else. President Obama’s administration refuses to defend the law. But guess which President signed it into office?

That would have been Democrat icon Bill Clinton.


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Comments (3)

15 May 2012 1:55 AEST

Nick Williams

From: Wollongong

Same sex marriage

@Wayne Connor: Your argument is faith-based, ignorant, discriminatory and destructive to the welfare of all Australians. Things WILL change, whether you like it or not and our country will be the better for it. Your comment about the fall of the Roman Empire is laughable. I politely suggest that you loosen your rigid mind, and come to an understanding that the 'God of the Bible' would want you to love, respect and treat everyone equally, not just those that you choose.

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12 May 2012 17:19 AEST

Graham Fraser

From: Melbourne


Everyone who wants to have their union recognised by the state should have to register it as a civil union. Those who are hetrosexual can call it" marriage" if they wish. Those who are homosexual can call it "garriage" or whatever they wish. That way we would all be aware of the nature of the couple and it would avoid embarrassment all round. It would preserve the historic definition of marriage and would enable those homosexuals who are proud and happy in their relationship to identify it.

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10 May 2012 20:08 AEST

Pastor Wayne O'Connor

From: Cobargo, NSW

Same Sex Marriage

Parliament prays before they sit, we call on the God of the Bible to help us to tell the truth in the judicial system and now we want to take His Word and apply it to relationships that were never ordained to be joined together. Take a leaf out of history, the Roman Empire fell because of the sexual misuse of the God of the Bible’s commandments. Just as Rome fell, so too will America and Australia if their governments legalise same sex marriage. Our countries will rot from the inside out!

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About this Blog

Matthew Hall presents a first-hand look at world events from a different angle.

Matthew Hall New York-based writer Matthew Hall has chased fugitives across Texas, been shot in outback Australia and has lunched with Liza Minnelli.