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Will Vice President Joe Biden's comments on gay marriage this weekend make things uncomfortable at his next weekly lunch with the president? Even though there was a time when Barack Obama claimed he was in favor of civil gay marriage, since becoming candidate Obama and then president, he's parsed his words carefully so as not to offend potential voters, saying that his views on the issue are "evolving."
But this weekend on Meet the Press, Vice President Biden announced:
"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."
Not to be outdone, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, when asked if same sex couples should be able to get legally married in all 50 states, his response was a firm, "Yes, I do."
Is this a well-timed position shift as the presidential campaign heats up or a coincidental slip-up by unfocused cabinet members? While President Obama has consistently resisted endorsing gay marriage since being elected, campaign staffers contend that Biden's position is completely in sync with the president's. In a campaign conference call that iVillage participated in, Obama advisers David Axelrod and Jim Messina said the vice president's comments were "consistent" with the president's -- that married couples, whether they are gay or straight, should be entitled to the same rights and liberties.
Many wealthy gay donors have recently pressed the president to be more supportive on this issue. So it should come as no surprise that a few cabinet members have been sent out to test the waters to see what impact a full endorsement of gay marriage might do to the president's poll numbers.
You can read more from iVillage iVote Editor and Correspondent Joanne Bamberger at her blog, PunditMom. Joanne is also the author of the Amazon bestseller Mothers of Intention: How Women and Social Media are Revolutionizing Politics in America. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook!