Joe Biden: Gay marriage "the issue of our day"

Biden delivered his remarks in Iowa, in what could be the "unofficial kickoff of his third presidential campaign"

Published September 16, 2013 1:22PM (EDT)


Addressing an audience at an Iowa fundraiser on Sunday, Vice President Joe Biden called gay marriage "the issue of our day."

“A lot of people criticized me for speaking out, not long ago, about gay marriage. I could not remain silent any longer,” he said. “It’s the civil rights of our day. It’s the issue of our day.”

As the Huffington Post notes, Biden was referring to a 2012 appearance on "Meet the Press" in which host David Gregory asked him if he was "comfortable" with gay marriage, to which Biden replied:

I am vice president of the United States of America. The president sets the policy. 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.

Biden is in Iowa right now for what the New York Times has speculated is the "unofficial kickoff of his third presidential campaign."

But while the audience at Sen. Tom Harkin's, D-Iowa, annual steak-fry fundraiser responded enthusiastically to Biden's keynote address and his presence in their state, as the Times notes, there remains a "dissonance between Democrats’ professed fondness for Mr. Biden and their unwillingness to support his presidential hopes" in Iowa.

Basically, recently polling data suggests that Iowans have placed Biden squarely in the political friend zone:

If the party primary process is akin to a high school popularity contest — and it can be — Mr. Biden would be the guy the girls all found likable, outgoing and funny, but wanted only as a friend.

“I love Joe Biden!” Kathy Higgins, a Democrat from Ottumwa, exclaimed before he spoke. Then she immediately added: “But I’m for Hillary. She’s my candidate.”

Ms. Higgins, clad in a Barack Obama shirt from the 2008 campaign, represents a sizable demographic of Iowa Democrats: caucusgoers who backed Mr. Obama against Hillary Rodham Clinton in their showdown here but who now want to make history again by supporting Mrs. Clinton.

So it goes for Mr. Biden.


By Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

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2016 Elections Barack Obama Friend Zone Gay Marriage Joe Biden