Biden Remarks Put Obama's Marriage Stance Front and Center

Gay marriage supporters, major Obama donors, and CNN anchor Anderson Cooper all want the Obama administration to finally embrace federal marriage equality.

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BY Michelle Garcia

May 08 2012 3:21 PM ET

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper is part of a growing list who want President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden to decipher their vague views on marriage equality.

Over the weekend, Biden said on Meet the Press that he is personally "comfortable" with same-sex marriage. Shortly after, surrogates from the White House and the Obama reelection campaign scrambled to clarify Biden's remarks, which are not completely in line with President Obama's public statements on marriage equality.

"The president's position on same-sex marriage is anything but precise," Cooper said in his "Keeping Them Honest" segment Monday night. "Mr. Biden said he's comfortable with the fact same-sex couples are entitled to all the same exact rights, all of the civil rights, all the civil liberties. But that's not currently the case, even in states where same-sex marriage is allowed, and it's certainly not President Obama's position. There is, for instance, no federal recognition of same-sex marriage. Therefore, same-sex couples don't share all the rights heterosexual couples do."

Cooper pointed out that Biden stopped short of saying whether the federal government should legalize same-sex marriage, and added that President Obama has said his feelings on the subject are still evolving.

According to The Washington Post, the whole situation is aggravating a split in the administration between those who believe the president should declare his support for marriage equality before the November election and those who say he should wait. In either case, the administration could face political backlash — from antigay conservatives on one side of the coin, and some of the campaign's most powerful gay supporters on the other.

Several prominent Obama bundlers are LGBT, including Chicago Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts, HBO executive James Costos, and interior designer Michael S. Smith. In fact, one calculation shows that about one in six bundlers for Obama are LGBT. While Freedom to Marry gains more bigwig Democrats in its campaign to get the party to fully embrace marriage equality this summer, other LGBT Democrats are keeping their wallets closed.

The Washington Post also reports that some prominent gay Democrats are withholding major donations to the Obama campaign after he decided not to issue an executive order mandating all federal contractors to have antidiscrimination policies for LGBT employees. Donations to Priorities USA, Obama's main super-PAC, have been lackluster since the president decided not to enact the executive order. A spokesman for Jonathan Lewis, a gay philanthropist and major Obama supporter, estimated that some donations that are being withheld are in the seven digits, but none of the dismayed donors have gone public.

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