Vice President Joe Biden stopped short on Sunday of pledging to legalize gay marriage should President Obama win a second term.
“That’s what I believe. I am vice president of the United States of America, the president sets the policy,” he said on NBC's Meet the Press. “I am absolutely comfortable with men marrying men, women marrying women.”
The White House told reporters on Sunday that that Biden's comments are not a shift from the administration's official policy. But gay rights groups, like the Human Rights Campaign, seized on the opportunity to call on President Obama to take decisive action to support same-sex marriage.
"We are encouraged by Vice President Biden's comments, who rightly articulated that loving and committed gay and lesbian couples should be treated equally," HRC President Joe Solmonese said in a statement. "Now is the time for President Obama to speak out for full marriage equality for same-sex couples."
Biden is not the first administration official to share support for same-sex marriage. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shuan Donovan and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have both spoken out in support of gay rights in the past, but Obama has remained committed to his position that his views are "evolving."
Biden said he can’t speak to the choices the president will make but that both he and Obama have evolved in their position on gay marriage.
“I think the good news is that more and more Americans come to understand that this is a special proposition, who do you love and will you be loyal to the person that you love,” he said.
Biden also took the opportunity to attack Republicans on their agenda, saying Republicans are stuck in the 1950’s on social issues.