US Vice President Joe Biden explains why he spoke out ahead of Obama on gay marriage
'I could not remain silent any more. It's time we stopped talking. It’s the civil rights of our day'
As pressure mounted last year on US President Barack Obama to take a stand on an issue – gay marriage – on which he was still famously ‘evolving,’ it was his vice president who gave him the nudge he needed.
Joe Biden went on NBC’s Meet the Press and expressed his personal support for same-sex marriage. Just days later, Obama did the same in an interview with ABC News.
‘A lot of people criticized me for speaking out, not long ago, about gay marriage. I could not remain silent any more,’ Biden said on Sunday (15 September) at a political fundraiser in Iowa.
‘It’s time we stopped talking,’ Biden added. ‘It’s the civil rights of our day. It’s the issue of our day.’
He then went on to give Obama full credit for a host of LGBT-related advances: ‘That’s why the president eliminated DOMA, Don’t Ask, Dont’ Tell. That’s why he came out against this notion that marriage can somehow be recognized in one state and denied in another.’
Biden added: ‘And when it comes to the rights of – you know the president’s phrase, and I’ll paraphrase this slightly – that everybody in America should have the dignity to choose who they love and marry who they choose. He believes that but not just because it’s a human right because it’s about treating everyone with dignity.’
Biden, 70, was a longtime US senator before being elected vice president in 2008. He is among those, along with Hillary Clinton, thought to be considering a run for the presidency in 2016.