Opinion: Vice President Biden is out of step with voters’ will on marriage
Vice President Joe Biden recently made comments that he is comfortable with same-sex marriage.
May 9th, 2012
10:16 AM ET

Opinion: Vice President Biden is out of step with voters’ will on marriage

Editor's note: Tony Perkins is president of the Family Research Council, a public policy organization based in Washington, D.C.

By Tony Perkins, Special to CNN

(CNN) - “Establishment” figures in both political parties insist that this year’s presidential election is all about economic issues, but if the Republican primary surge of Rick Santorum did not make clear that social issues matter, then recent events should.

First, Vice President Joe Biden told NBC’s David Gregory on “Meet the Press” that Republicans “need a better social policy than taking the social policy back to the ‘50s.”

Taking the bait, Gregory asked if Biden’s views on same-sex marriage have “evolved,” the term President Obama has used for his position on the issue.

Biden responded that, “What this is all about is a simple proposition: Who do you love?”

Pressed to clarify if that means he is “comfortable with same-sex marriage now,” Biden said 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.”

When news reports declared that Biden apparently had endorsed same-sex marriage, the White House moved quickly to backtrack, declaring that he only meant same-sex couples should have the same legal rights, possibly through “civil unions,” the position staked out by President Obama.

Obama’s ostensible opposition to same-sex marriage is so thin as to be invisible, because he opposes all methods of preventing it.

However, the immediate move to clarify after Biden’s remarks showed that the president understands what many of his supporters still do not: that open support for same-sex marriage remains a losing position in mainstream American politics.

That should be obvious from the fact that a majority of states have already passed state constitutional amendments to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

In every state where marriage has been on the ballot in some form (32 in all), voters have ultimately rejected the same-sex marriage position.

North Carolina’s passage of a similar amendment on Tuesday shows that in the only poll that counts, a secret ballot on Election Day, voters still resoundingly reject the redefinition of marriage.

Minnesota will be voting on a marriage amendment in November, and activists in the states of Maryland and Washington are working to give voters a chance to exercise a “people’s veto” over the redefinition of marriage by their legislatures.

Now that Vice President Biden has sent a clear signal as to what marriage policy would look like under a second Obama administration, Mitt Romney should respond with a contrast by promising that on Day One of his presidency, he will reverse the Obama Justice Department’s position in several lawsuits challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act, and resume a vigorous defense of that law.

The Defense of Marriage Act defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman for all purposes under federal law, and prevents states from being forced to recognize same-sex marriages from other states.

Interestingly, one of the 85 senators who voted in favor of the act, when it was passed in 1996, was Vice President Joe Biden.

Why has he now changed his mind about same-sex marriage?

Biden said on “Meet the Press,” “I think ‘Will and Grace’ probably did more to educate the American public than almost anything anybody’s ever done so far.”

It is odd, to say the least, for a vice president of the United States to shape public policy on marriage based on a situation comedy about a homosexual man and heterosexual woman who live together.

No wonder that most Americans think Washington is in the “Twilight Zone!”

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Tony Perkins.

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Filed under: Family • Politics • What we think
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Petra

    Biden is an idiot

    July 25, 2012 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Merideth

    You would be surprised how many white middle class educated couples voted for the ammendment. A lot of educated white people like me and my husband moved to North Carolina to save our marriages.

    May 18, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. CNNNdependent

    Maybe Biden and Obama think that LGBT marriage will stimulate the economy.

    The Obama Administration has lots of ideas but none that will improve our nation's financial situation. "It's the economy, stupid!"

    May 16, 2012 at 4:19 am | Report abuse |
  4. brownsugarmama

    In North Carolina we consider sodomy a crime so yall better be quite down here. Just live your life and be quite and very private. We do not care to know anything about it. I liked dont ask/dont tell.

    May 15, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. SmartMan

    No !! This so called religious " NUT " is wrong in my eyes , anytime a man says his way is the only way is wrong in my book . If he wishes to continue his crusade he will find that people who do not agree with him will bite back ! Every time I see this guy he reminds me of " Jim Jones " ! That should tell you people that this man has nothing good to say ! I'm sure if you dig behind the scene you'll find that he has a lot of skeletons in his closet ! Those who follow this man down this path are so easy !!

    May 15, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • klgrube

      Who are you talking about, Biden or Perkins? The fact that you weren't clear says more about your lack of knowledge about this issue than anything. Let's be VERY clear. The voters of this country jhave ALWAYS rejected Biden's position on this issue, for their own reasons, not all – not even NEAR all – of which were based on religion. Some look at simple human biology ane realize we weren't made for that. Others look at social history and realize the only successful socieities are those that have placed the value of real families at the center of their cultur. Others believe that children have the right to know and be raised by the two people who created them. Others realize that this push for gay "marriage" is very little about marriage and all about trying to force acceptance of the gay lifestyle on this country and reject if for that reason. Others don't like seeing what happens in schools when gay "marriage"

      May 15, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
      • klgrube

        Sorry . . I'd like to finish my previous comment . . .

        ... when gay "marriage" is imposed on a state. Others see the state forcing faith-based social service agencies that provide adoption and foster care services to close and don't think that's right. And others don't like companies being sued over their deeply held religious convictions when gay "marriage" is passed. And yeah, some vote against gay "marriage" based on their core religious beliefs. Thankfully, there's no law that has to check your faith at the voting booth curtain.

        The point is that it is the VOTERS of this country who reject gay "marriage." Don't blame Tony Perkins for that. He's just supporting the idea that the voices of the voters should be listened to and not disrespected or discouraged no matter what their reason for rejecting gay "marriage."

        May 15, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jim Beam

    As a democrat I believe in that Marriage is between a man and a woman period. This is not a right or left wing issue.

    May 14, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • kirk

      you're right Jim... and last I looked the Bible still said the same thing ....no change there, no evolution there. In fact, I think alot of women should rethink their voting opportunity in Nov – as this President is an absolute insult to women and mothers all over the world.

      May 15, 2012 at 6:21 am | Report abuse |
      • Hammad

        The Quran, Bible, and Torrah all share the same view on this subject and there is a reason for that. Gods law! By making this statement the President has alienated religious democrates who tend to have more conservative view points but refuse to vote republican because they feel as if they are hated by the republican party.

        May 15, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kiss

    If gay people don't believe in god why do they want holy matrimony=mother=marriage, why not have civil unions with all the same benefits, unless you want to take down churches or religion for your own agenda. (stop forcing church members to go against thier religion)

    May 14, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Marriage is a legal term used to give rights to people who have registered their commitment with the government. What gay people want is the same rights as everyone else. This is not a religious debate. This is a matter of civil rights. If the government stopped recognizing Marriages and called every relationship civil unions, I think gay people would be happy with that. However, as has been proven in this country, separate but equal does not work. All people should have equal protection under the law. Also, your assertion that gay people don't believe in God is incorrect. There are plenty of religious people in America who are gay.

      May 15, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
      • KHadjatou

        "well, in that case I'm quite sure I will never get married then" as in [you've got to do it yuelsorf to get it done correctly kind a gir] not really true but that's what I felt reading it. I dunno, maybe we're just too progressive and don't understand that everyone else want the world to stay the same as the last hundred/thousand years /bitter woman without a ring who still thinks we can change the world, maybe if we have a lot of money and wack out all those mindless tv reality shows with "winner gets a RING and a husband to take care of you"

        July 1, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • brownsugarmama

      A to the Men Kiss! I just cant for the life of me understand why they are making such a big fuss about marriage. Dont they alright have the same basic rights as partners in a civil union? I work with several gay doctors and nurses their our company recognizes these partnerships and lets them cover their partners on our health insurance and benefits plans. It does make it look as if the gays are trying to infintrate the church by making us agree with something that our teachings say is very wrong. Thanks for your comment.

      May 15, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • CCP320

      If two people seeking to form a union should only be allowed a "civil union" because they are gay, then perhaps "civil unions" are the ONLY social contracts the government should recognize...for straight people, too.

      I think it's fair to say that, by-and-large, supporters of marriage equality are less concerned with "holy matrimony" than in ensuring the equality of rights for ALL men and women. In short: it's about equal protection under the law.
      Michael's point is spot on: this is a civil rights issue. Married couples are afforded certain benefits by virtue of their being married. Civil unions do NOT always carry the same rights.

      In a nation where the separation of church and state is (supposedly) sacrosanct, it seems to me that we have two options:
      1) ONLY civil unions are recognized by the government - if you feel compelled you can go out and have yourself a big ol' wedding in your house of worship...but what you and EVERYONE ELSE gets from the government is some sort of "Certificate of Civil Union"


      2) Gays should be allowed to "get married" too.

      I think

      May 16, 2012 at 4:34 am | Report abuse |
  8. creaturem

    America was founded mainly on the issue of religous tolerance, not Christian views of tolerance. these folks have the right to follow their own beliefs. Any other way of thinking is UnAmerican, and should not be tolerated, how does that feel?

    May 14, 2012 at 7:50 am | Report abuse |
  9. jake

    It's no longer politically correct to say you're against gay marriage. Luckily, voters' choices at the ballot box are not public record. If Prop 8 can pass in California then Biden may have made a very costly mistake for the Democrats.

    May 13, 2012 at 1:33 am | Report abuse |
    • JeremiahA

      "It's no longer politically correct to say you're against gay marriage. Luckily, voters' choices at the ballot box are not public record. If Prop 8 can pass in California then Biden may have made a very costly mistake for the Democrats."

      I wholeheartedly agree with you. Look at the recent vote in North Carolina. When the people have been allowed to vote to protect the right of marriage, marriage has been sustained.

      May 13, 2012 at 2:04 am | Report abuse |
  10. Chris

    I guess I don´t get why people care who can get married. It´s legal in other countries. Gay people have been around forever and the world hasn´t ended. Why is this the right´s big issue?

    May 12, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Barbara DeFratis

    No, the only thing that Vice-President Bidden did was to correctly state the mood of the Nation. Whether the Far Right likes it or not! We are becoming more and more Open and Tolerant Nation and that same old lie about opening up marriage for Gays to join in is some how by some stretch of the over active imagination a War on Marriage is be seen as the Right-Wing Propaganda campaign that it really and truly is.

    May 11, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • brownsugarmama

      Yeah Barb this is rapidly becoming a more and more wicked nation. I thought I would never live to see the day when gay people could actually march in a parade down the street in the daylight. Gays already have all the rights they need.

      May 15, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Barbara DeFratis

    No, the only thing that Vice-President Bidden did was to correct state the mood of the Nation. Whether the Far Right likes it or not, we are becoming more and more Open and Tolerant and that same old lie about opening up marriage for Gays to join in is some how by some stretch of the over active imagination a War on Marriage is be seen as the Right-Wing Propaganda campaign that it really and truly is.

    May 11, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  13. funnyman

    Vice President 'bite-me' in the words of a great American general.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Woody

    First I must agree 100% with hamsta. I also feel that if we as a nation continue to push GOD out of our lives;
    out of our schools and out of our public buildings as we have done so. Combining our current state of abortion
    and now adding this gay lifestyle to become a law of the land. God will so punish America for these transgressions!

    May 10, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Student from The University of Houston

      You know that's funny, I wonder did God ever punish America for... here we go... Slavery, Lying to and completely obliterating the Native Americans, What about Jim Crow laws, no punishment after those, or how about Nagasaki and Hiroshima, i mean those were innocent civilians right? Oh wait, non-christian right? If anything it seems that the land of liberty, which was of course, was built on slavery, has been showered with riches, i mean WE ARE THE RICHEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, and also the only country to use nuclear weapons on two civilian targets, or rather use nuclear weapons in combat period. Believe me, I LOVE America, but it is no different than anything else in our world, it has ups and downs. Lastly since you say God will punish America..., Perhaps we should hide our history books, because we don't want to snitch on the Germans, the people in control at that time did some bad stuff, still Europe's No. 1 economy right. Go get a clue. Or go grow our economy by buying a TON of "end of the world" supplies, Home Depot would love you.

      May 10, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jsaves1337

        It is unfortunate, but they really don't matter. Until they embrace the Lord as their savior, the Earth isn't theirs and paradise isn't theirs. We endeavor to bring them into the light, but if they continue to be blinded, then when we protect God's Kingdom., they are to be sacrificed.

        May 11, 2012 at 2:22 am | Report abuse |
  15. Alison

    "Editor's note: Tony Perkins is president of the Family Research Council, a public policy organization based in Washington, D.C."

    You forgot to mention the fact that this particular 'public policy organization' is also a designated hate group.

    Why are you still giving this man a platform, CNN? I'm pretty sure you wouldn't be if he were the leader of a racist group, so why is it OK when it's gay people he spreads vicious lies about?

    May 9, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • ncretirededucator

      Tony Perkins is RIGHT ON ! At least we can't be bullied (yes, I said bullied) in the privacy of the voting booth.
      The biology of the human anatomy speaks volumes for itself. Marriage is between a man and a woman. I love my friends but there is no license for that. Glad my kids and grandkids are growing up in homes with a man and a woman who are married.

      May 9, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
      • Progaymarriage

        Very scary when an Educator doesn't know what bullying means. Bullys outnumer the ones being bullied and bullys pick on others that are different. The non-gay people in America outnumber gay people and vote on our rights. It's also very very scary that bigots like you are teaching our children to hate others and vote out equal rights. We die in wars fighting for you so why can't we marry the ones we love. God made us gay, remember that.

        May 9, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • JeremiahA

      "You forgot to mention the fact that this particular 'public policy organization' is also a designated hate group."

      Yes, it is designated as a hate group...by an organization that, by its own standard, would be defined as a hate group.

      May 10, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      A "designated hate group"? Who gave them that designation? Alison, surely you don't believe the characterization you've just made. I thought we were still living in America, the land of "freedom of speech". Are you saying that anyone who disagrees with public policy, especially when it touches a charged social issue such as marriage, is by definition a hatemonger? Exactly what are these "vicious lies" you're attributing to Perkins? Have we in the United States–"one nation under God", degenerated to the point that we cannot disagree on such a sensitive issue without name-calling?

      May 10, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • klgrube

      Considering that the Democrats were the founders of the KKK, I'm not so sure what your statement means. Frankly, I suggest that you look for some other source than the Southern Poverty Law Center for your definition of a Hate Group. They themselves are among the worst offenders. The only "intolerants" around here are people bashing the FRC and Tony Perkins, as far as I can tell.

      May 15, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  16. hamsta

    bidens comments are out of step for a number of reasons- 1 its just a diversion tactic for the dems. 2 marriage is an agreement between 1 man 1 woman and 1 God. they call it holy matrimony for a reason. only God sets the rules for marriage. God destroyed sodom and gammorha for a reason.where do you think the word sodomy comes from? 3 only SATAN would challenge the rule of God. 4 the gay lifestyle is an abomination of God. 5 the gay lifestyle is immoral.

    May 9, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |