Bil Browning

Arne Duncan vs Joe Biden: Who Endorsed Marriage Equality?

Filed By Bil Browning | May 07, 2012 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Arne Duncan, Chad Griffin, Freedom to Marry, gay marriage, Joe Biden, marriage equality, same-sex marriage

While most Bilerico readers agreed with my analysis of Vice President Biden's lukewarm pro-marriage equality statement yesterday on Meet The Press, I've taken quite a bit of blowback over e-mail and a couple of phone calls. My critics saw Biden's words as a full-throated endorsement of the freedom to marry, while I stand firm Thumbnail image for bigstock-Question-6238425.jpgthat what we saw was nothing more than the latest scene in a long running act of political theater.

Incoming HRC President Chad Griffin even weighed in over at MetroWeekly as reporters and organizations fired up the marriage bandwagon and urged everyone aboard. "His words can speak for themselves," Griffin told MetroWeekly. "I don't think anyone in America -- or, I should say, I don't think anyone outside Washington -- would have any question what the vice president was saying."

But only in Hollywood would movie magic allow the Vice President's lips to move while new words are dubbed over top of what he's actually saying.

"The good news is that as more and more Americans come to understand what this is all about is a simple proposition. Who do you love? Who do you love and will you be loyal to the person you love? And that's what people are finding out what all marriages at their root are about. Whether they are marriages of lesbians or gay men or heterosexuals," does not equal "I support marriage equality." It simply acknowledges that the trends are in our favor.

"I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual men marrying women 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," doesn't say he supports our rights, just that he's okay with it happening. The majority of Americans think we deserve our civil rights and express comfort with our relationships - especially when those marriages are in another state. Not seeing the distinction between civil unions and marriage equality is pretty darn common.

So this morning, US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan appeared on MSNBC and was asked about his support for marriage equality. Duncan showed Biden (and Griffin and bloggers and hopeful activists) exactly how it's done. His answer? Video and more after the break.

Yup. That's right. Let's repeat that again for those of you who can't watch video...

Q: "Do you believe that same-sex men and women should be able to get legally married in the United States?"
A: "Yes. I do."

It's not the fault of Washington insiders' that Vice President Biden's comments weren't forthright and unequivocal. If the Veep was being forceful enough about the freedom to marry that we should all be doing victory dances, there wouldn't have to be a debate on whether he actually did it or not.

There's no way the Obama campaign or administration can slowly back peddle away from it. The statement stands on it's own. There's no waffling. He supports the freedom to marry; he said so - bluntly with with words that "speak for themselves." Joe Biden didn't.

No movie magic necessary.

(Question Mark art credit: BigStock)

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