Is the Obama administration giving mixed messages on gay marriage?
Vice President Joe Biden says he's "absolutely comfortable'' with gay couples who marry getting the same civil rights and liberties as heterosexual couples, a stand that gay rights advocates, including California State Senator Mark Leno, interpreted as an endorsement of same-sex marriage.
"It's very exciting and encouraging to hear the Vice President of the United States speaking in support of equality, equal respect, dignity and validation, for all of our citizens, in terms of marriage equality, so this is good news," Leno said.
Biden told NBC's "Meet the Press'' that marriage should be about being loyal to someone you love, whether that marriage is between a man and a woman, two men or two women. ``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 in the interview broadcast Sunday.
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Political analyst Larry Gerston says despite the fact that some say it may have been another Biden gaffe, it could be that Biden was testing the water for the president.
"You have to believe that a message was given tonight to those folks in the gay community and those sympathetic to the gay community who are looking for hope and if nothing else, it sort of emphasizes there’s a difference between the two. Between the Obama administration and the Republicans and Governor Romney," Gerston said.
While Obama opposes gay marriage, he says his personal views on the matter are "evolving'' and has noted that polls show Americans are increasingly supporting same-sex marriage.
Biden, a devout Catholic, has said previously that his personal views, as well as the country's, on gay marriage are evolving.
The gay marriage debate took center stage in San Francisco in 2004 when then Mayor Gavin Newsom allowed same sex couples to get their marriage licenses. The battle went straight to the State Supreme Court and is now at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.