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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.

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Chris Barron of GOProud, the Republican pro-gay rights group, tweeted, “Remember those 5 minutes when Biden was for gay marriage? Good times. ”

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It’s probably not the kind of kerfuffle Obama needed the day after he officially kicked off his reelection campaign with rallies in battleground states Ohio and Virginia.

But it’s an issue that can’t be avoided this (or any other) campaign season.

As Politico took note in reporting Biden’s comments Sunday, gay marriage is currently legal in six states and Washington, D.C. and has been passed by two more – Maryland and Washington state – but is not in effect, pending referendums in November. There’s also a legalization vote scheduled for November in Maine, and votes to ban gay marriage in North Carolina and Minnesota. The North Carolina amendment is up for a vote on Tuesday.

Like Obama and Biden, Americans’ position on same-sex marriage is “evolving.”

A year ago, Gallup reported that for the first time in polling history, a majority of those surveyed (53-45 percent) supported the legalization of same-sex marriage.

As recently as 2008, according to a Pew Research Center survey, a majority (51-39 percent) opposed gay marriage. Pew now finds that a plurality (47-43 percent) now approves of such marriages.

Important differences remain among types of voters, Gallup reports, with Democrats, independents, and younger voters (18-34) very much in favor while most Republicans and voters over the age of 55 clearly oppose gay marriage.
 All of which puts Obama in something of a bind on a hot-button social issue that has galvanizing power on both side of the political divide.

“It is a thin but stark line between being against discrimination and for equality,” Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, told Politico. “It is very noticeable to same-sex couples that [Obama] has not clearly stated his support for our lives and our families.”


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