Vice President Joseph Biden's voicing of support for same-sex marriage on a talk show this morning became a political hot potato.
In a wide-ranging interview on "Meet the Press," Biden said he has no problem with gays and lesbians having marriage rights.
“I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual men and women marrying one another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties,” Biden said. "Frankly, I don't see much of a distinction beyond that."
Biden's statement made him the highest-ranking government official to endorse same-sex marriage. But it may have put President Barack Obama, who does not support it, in an uncomfortable position.
Obama senior campaign adviser David Axelrod attempted to walk the statement back a little immediately after the interview aired.
On his personal Twitter account, Axelrod wrote that what Biden said "that all married couples should have exactly the same legal rights" is "precisely" the position of Obama.
A spokesperson for the vice president said Biden's statement of support is similar to sentiments Obama has expressed in the past
"The vice president was saying what the president has said previously — that committed and loving same-sex couples deserve the same rights and protections enjoyed by all Americans, and that we oppose any effort to roll back those rights," the spokesperson said.
Obama has said his views on same-sex marriage are "evolving" and that it is a matter best left to the states.
Biden did not say whether the White House would take concrete steps to help legalize gay marriage if Obama wins a second term.
Still, Biden argued the president has worked to help gays and lesbians, such as overturning "don't ask, don't tell" and issuing an executive order that hospitals can't deny same-sex partners access.
In the interview, Biden also attributed the growing acceptance of same-sex marriage to "the social culture," including TV shows such as "Will and Grace," about a gay man and his straight female friend.
"More and more Americans have come to understand what this is all about is a simple proposition: Who do you love? … And will you be loyal to the person you love? And that's what people are finding out is what all marriages at their root are about. Whether they're marriages of lesbians or gay men or heterosexuals," he said.
Biden has made similar statements in the past.
"I think the country's evolving," he said on "Good Morning America" in 2010. "And I think there's an inevitability for a national consensus on gay marriage. That is my view."
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.