UPDATE: Out actor Sean Hayes released the following statement this evening: "On behalf of everyone who worked on "Will and Grace", we thank Vice President Biden for his comments regarding our show as well as his support for equality for gay Americans and everyone in the LGBT community."
In an interview with NBC's Meet the Press, Vice President Joe Biden today spoke on the impact of the media in building support for marriage equality, and also voiced his own support for equal marriage protections.
"The good news is that as more and more Americans come to understand what this is all about is a simple proposition," Vice President Biden told host David Gregory. "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... 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... I think Will & Grace probably did more to educate the American public than almost anything anybody has done so far. People fear that is different and now they’re beginning to understand."
“Today, Vice President Biden took an important step toward joining former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, former Vice Presidents Al Gore and Dick Cheney, and a growing majority of Americans who support marriage equality for their gay and lesbian friends, family and neighbors,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. “It is significant that Vice President Biden spoke about the importance of Will & Grace in his journey toward acceptance, since we know that the media plays a key role in helping people understand that denying any loving couple the chance at happiness and security that comes only through marriage is not only hurtful, it's downright un-American.”
Will and Grace stars Debra Messing and Eric McCormack took to Twitter with their responses:
On behalf of everyone who worked on W&G, we thank VP Biden 4 his comments about our show & his support for equality for gay Americans.— Sean Hayes (@theseanhayes) May 7, 2012
pinknews.co.uk/2012/05/06/vid…Three cheers for VP Joe Biden!Fantastic interview.Now who ELSE is gonna step up?— Eric McCormack (@EricMcCormack) May 6, 2012
Vice President Biden’s remarks come just days before voters in North Carolina will decide on a constitutional amendment – known as Amendment One – that would change the state’s constitution to only recognize married straight couples; bans civil unions; and eliminates health care, prescription drug coverage and other benefits for public employees and children receiving domestic partner benefits. The Obama administration has already announced its opposition to the initiative.
"While the president does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the record is clear that the President has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same sex couples," said Cameron French, a North Carolina Obama campaign spokesperson. "That’s what the North Carolina ballot initiative would do – it would single out and discriminate against committed gay and lesbian couples – and that’s why the President does not support it."