Vice President Joe Biden takes important step toward joining majority who support marriage equality

May 6, 2012

Rich Ferraro
Vice President of Communications, GLAAD
(646) 871-8011

New York, NY, May 6, 2012 – GLAAD, the nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy and anti-defamation organization, today responded to Vice President Joe Biden’s remarks stating that he is "absolutely comfortable" with equal marriage protections for gay and lesbian couples.

“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.”

In an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press, Vice President Biden said:
"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."

Five 2011 polls found that most Americans favor marriage equality, including a May 2011 Gallup poll which showed that 53% of respondents believed that marriages between lesbian and gay couples should be “recognized by the law as valid.”

•       A Quinnipiac University poll found that 59% of respondents oppose federal legislation that denies eligibility for federal benefits to gay and lesbian spouses.
•       A Gallup poll showed 53% of respondents believed that marriages between lesbian and gay couples should be “recognized by the law as valid.”
•       Public Religion Research Institute found that 51% support legal marriage for lesbian and gay couples.
•       ABC News and the Washington Post found that 51% of respondents said they thought marriage equality should be legal, a 17 percentage-point increase from the 2006 polling results.
•       CNN and the Opinion Research Corporation showed 51% of respondents were in favor of legal recognition for marriages for gay and lesbian couples.

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."