Vice President Joe Biden showed his support for gay marriage on Sunday’s “Meet the Press.”
New York Timesmade sure to highlight that Biden’s position, advocating not only civil unions, but marriage rights for homosexual couples, is not the same as the White House policy.
“The comments, which aides described as the off-the-cuff views of a vice president not known for fidelity to a script, sent the White House scrambling to clarify that Mr. Biden was not articulating an official change in policy, a reaction that highlighted the administration’s unease over the subject,” the story said.
Fox News didn’t seem to buy this. An article posted on its website said “The Obama campaign quickly claimed Biden was merely echoing the president’s position, but the language the vice president used was certainly stronger than Obama’s past statements.”
Regardless, Biden said his opinion is insignificant in terms of policy. He said President Obama makes policy decisions.
Is the vice president not entitled to his own opinions if they slightly differe from the president? Why is Biden not allowed to speak his mind? The Times story even points to the difference in opinion President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney held on the same subject. Bush was openly against gay marriage and Cheney was openly for equal rights for homosexual couples. Cheney’s opinion did not change White House policy. Fox News did not mention this.
It is refreshing, however, to see two stories written with only a small mention of voter opinion. These stories both focus on the policy. The Times does mention that many Hispanic and African-American Democrats are against gay marriage, saying it conflicts with Christian doctrine. This, however, was only a small paragraph in the story.
It will be interesting to see where this leads. I wonder if more “off-the-cuff” statements like this will rob Biden of his seat on Obama’s ticket. The president may not want to deal with the publicity issues that come with these kinds of statements.