WASHINGTON (BP) -- Observers on both the left and right are wondering if and when President Obama will publicly declare his support for gay "marriage" after Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan each went further than Obama has on the subject.
Duncan on Monday (May 7) answered "yes" when asked on MSNBC if he supported legalizing gay "marriage." The day before, Biden came close to saying as much.
"I am vice president of the United States of America. The president sets the policy," Biden said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties."
Asked if the Obama administration would announce its support for gay "marriage" during a possible second term, Biden said, "I can't speak to that. I don't know the answer to that."
Earlier, Biden had said, "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 is what all marriages, at their root, are about -- whether they're marriages of lesbians or gay men or heterosexuals."
Obama has yet to say he supports gay "marriage," although he has said his position is "evolving." But his opposition to the federal Defense of Marriage Act -- which defines marriage as between a man and a woman -- and his opposition to proposed constitutional marriage amendments in North Carolina and Minnesota have left some observers charging that he's not being open and honest. Obama ordered the Justice Department to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act, and the department has since moved from a neutral stance to actually working to see it overturned.
"It's as if he's playing a big game of charades," Jonathan Capehart of The Washington Post wrote Monday (May 7). Capehart is gay and supports gay "marriage." Capehart listed Obama's actions on the issue. "... Put it all together and it sounds like and looks like -- and IS -- support for same-sex marriage."
Denny Burk, associate professor of biblical studies at Boyce College in Louisville, Ky., said Obama's hesitancy is political. Obama's statements, Burk said, have "gone past the point of absurd."
"There is a take-away here for supporters of traditional marriage but who otherwise favor progressive policies and Democratic candidates," Burk wrote on his blog. "The President appears to be angling for your vote. He reads the polls and knows that he risks losing you if he comes out openly in favor of gay marriage. That is why you are unlikely to see him lay his cards on the table until after he wins the 2012 election. It appears that he made a political calculation and that he's saving the announcement until after the potential for political damage is past."
Joe Solmonese, the president of the Human Rights Campaign -- the nation's largest gay group -- said he believes Obama is on his side on the issue.
"There's no doubt in my mind that the president shares these values and that's why it's time for him to speak out in favor of marriage equality as well," Solmonese said in a statement.
Michael Foust is associate editor of Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).
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