The incoming president of the nation’s leading gay rights group said Vice President Biden was speaking from the heart when he told “Meet the Press” Sunday that he is “absolutely comfortable” with gay couples having the same rights as straight couples.
Chad Griffin, a Los Angeles-based political strategist and Obama campaign national finance committee member who next month will become president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a phone interview Sunday that “only in Washington and only in politics could someone parse the words of what the vice president said on ‘Meet the Press’ this morning.”
“This vice president has a history of saying what he believes,” he said.
Shortly after Biden made his remarks on same-sex marriage, White House aides moved to play down the comments, arguing that Biden’s stated position is identical to that of President Obama, who has said he is still “evolving” on the issue.
But Griffin – who last month was among those attending a closed-door meeting of about 30 prominent gay and lesbian Obama supporters, at which Biden spoke for about an hour – said that he believed Biden on Sunday “was very clear and very direct when asked if he was comfortable with gay marriage.”
“He very specifically walked through and. . .went into detail about loving couples and whether it’s men and women or two women or two men,” Griffin said.
In his “Meet the Press” interview, Biden spoke of same-sex marriage in personal terms and, for the first time, recounted the Los Angeles meeting in describing his position on the issue.
At the meeting, Biden said, he was asked by one attendee, “How do you feel about us?”
“And I had just walked into the back door of this gay couple, and they’re with their two adopted children,” Biden said. “And I turned to the man who owned the house and I said, ‘What did I do when I walked in?’ He said, ‘You walked right to my children— they were seven and five, giving you flowers.’”
“And I said, ‘I wish every American could see the look of love those kids had in their eyes for you guys, and they wouldn’t have any doubt about what this is about,’” Biden said.
Griffin said Sunday that it was he who asked Biden the question. He declined to discuss the details of the off-the-record event, which was held in late April at the home of HBO executive Michael Lombardo and architect Sonny Ward.
Asked about how Biden’s views on same-sex marriage compare to those of Obama’s, Griffin said, “I take the president at his word; he says that his position is evolving.”
“My hope is that he will evolve quickly and ultimately follow and join the majority of the American public,” he added.