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Joe Biden stirs the pot on same-sex marriage (+video)

Vice President Joe Biden says he's 'absolutely comfortable' with same-sex marriage. That seems to put him out front of President Obama on a hot-button issue that is sure to come up in the presidential election.

By Staff writer / May 6, 2012

Hundreds of people gather behind the state capitol for a rally supporting a constitutional ban on gay marriage in Raleigh, N.C. Voters will decide May 8 whether North Carolina will remain the only state in the South without such a constitutional ban.

Allen Breed/AP

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Uh-oh. Did Joe Biden just get out front of his boss on gay marriage?

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What did Joe Biden say on "Meet the Press" Sunday?

On NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, the Vice President had this to say:

“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. And quite frankly, I don’t see much of a distinction beyond that.”

Being Number 2 in the White House, Biden naturally preceded that eye-opener with, “I am vice president of the United States of America. The president sets the policy.”

But the policy – or at least the position staked out by President Obama – is not the same as “men marrying men, women marrying women.” Obama supports civil unions, but that’s it.

A Biden aide quickly “clarified” the VP’s on-air statement.

"The vice president was saying what the president has said previously – that committed and loving same-sex couples deserve the same rights and protections enjoyed by all Americans, and that we oppose any effort to roll back those rights," the aide said. "That's why we stopped defending the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act in legal challenges and support legislation to repeal it. Beyond that, the vice president was expressing that he too is evolving on the issue, after meeting so many committed couples and families in this country."

From the Obama campaign, senior advisor David Axelrod tweeted, “What VP said – that all married couples should have exactly the same legal rights – is precisely POTUS’s position.”

Nice try, but gay rights activists immediately took notice of what seemed to be – if not a vice presidential slip of the tongue – a crack in the administration’s position. They’re pushing for a marriage-equality plank in the Democratic Party platform at this summer’s convention.

“We are encouraged by Vice President Biden's comments, who rightly articulated that loving and committed gay and lesbian couples should be treated equally,” said Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese. “Now is the time for President Obama to speak out for full marriage equality for same-sex couples.”

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