“I think there’s an inevitability for a national consensus on gay marriage,” Biden said. “That is my view. … It is evolving. I think the country’s evolving.”
President Barack Obama has made similar statements.
On Oct. 27, Obama told gay blogger Joe Sudbay: “(Y)ou’re right that attitudes evolve, including mine. And I think that it is an issue that I wrestle with and think about because I have a whole host of friends who are in gay partnerships. I have staff members who are in committed, monogamous relationships, who are raising children, who are wonderful parents, and I care about them deeply. And so while I’m not prepared to reverse myself here, sitting in the Roosevelt Room at 3:30 in the afternoon, I think it’s fair to say that it’s something that I think a lot about. That’s probably the best you’ll do out of me today. … The one thing I will say today is I think it’s pretty clear where the trendlines are going … the arc of history.”
In a Dec. 22 interview with The Advocate’s Kerry Eleveld, Obama continued: “Joe asked me the same question. … The sentiment I expressed then is still where I am — which is, like a lot of people, I’m wrestling with this. My attitudes are evolving on this. I have always firmly believed in having a robust civil union that provides the rights and benefits under the law that marriage does. I’ve wrestled with the fact that marriage traditionally has had a different connotation. But I also have a lot of very close friends who are married gay or lesbian couples. And squaring that circle is something that I have not done yet, but I’m continually asking myself this question, and I do think that — I will make this observation, that I notice there is a big generational difference. When you talk to people who are in their 20s, they don’t understand what the holdup is on this, regardless of their own sexual orientation. And obviously when you talk to older folks, then there’s greater resistance.”
The L.A. Times editorial board criticized Obama’s statements Dec. 30.
“The president could spare himself that struggle if he would analyze the issue logically,” the newspaper said. “If he did, he would recognize that it’s irrational, once same-sex couples are given the practical advantages of marriage, to deny them married status. Civil unions, while a vast improvement over the absence of any recognition of same-sex relationships, are almost by definition second-class arrangements. The temptation is to think that Obama knows this, and that his reluctance to endorse marriage equality is more political than personal.”
Indeed, in early 1996, then-state-Senate candidate Barack Obama wrote to the Chicago gay newspaper Outlines (now known as Windy City Times), “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.” WCT has reproduced the letter at tinyurl.com/wctlet1.
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