Education Secretary Arne Duncan Supports Marriage Equality

By Julie Bolcer

Originally published on Advocate.com May 07 2012 9:49 AM ET

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said Mondaythat he supported marriage equality, one day after Vice President Joe Biden said on NBC’s Meet the Press that he was “absolutely comfortable” with the right of same-sex couples to marry. 

Duncan stated his position in response to a question on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, according to Politico

“Mark Halperin kicked off the Monday interview by asking Duncan, ‘Do you believe that same-sex men and women should be able to get legally married in the United States?’”

Duncan responded, “Yes, I do.”

Freedom to Marry president and founder Evan Wolfson issued the following statement in response to the Duncan interview.

“Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s announcement this morning adds him to the drumbeat of Obama Administration members coming out in support of the freedom to marry for same-sex couples,” he said. “Like Vice President Biden, former Presidents Clinton and Carter, former Vice Presidents Gore and Cheney, Laura Bush, and the majority of Americans, Secretary Duncan knows that loving and committed gay couples seek the freedom to marry for the same mix of reasons as other couples: to make a vow to one another, to share life with the person they love, and to protect their families. Standing up for the freedom to marry is not just the right thing to do, it's the right thing politically, and it's time for the President to stand on the right side of history.”

Duncan is the third member of the Obama administration to voice support for same-sex marriage. Housing and Urban Development secretary Shaun Donovan in November became the first sitting cabinet secretary to publicly support marriage equality. 

According to Politico, Duncan told his Morning Joe hosts that he had never been asked his position on the issue. Vice President Biden had previously said in interviews that he supported civil unions, which made his statements on Sunday a marked advance. 

Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod quickly tweeted after the interview that the vice president’s position was the same as the president’s. 

"What VP said-that all married couples should have exactly the same legal rights-is precisely POTUS's position,” said Axelrod. 

A Biden aide said that he, like Obama, “was expressing that he too is evolving on the issue.”