Vice President Joe Biden told David Gregory on "Meet the Press" that he is “absolute comfortable with men marrying men and women marrying women.” He added, however, that “the president sets the policy.” according to CNN. Biden has been a long time supporter of same-sex marriage. In 2010 Biden declared same-sex marriage is "all but inevitable in the U.S.” on "Good Morning America." Vice President Biden became the highest-ranking American elected official to endorse same-sex marriage.
The federal government does not recognize same-sex marriage. Until 1996, the U.S. government did not have a definition of marriage. A state that recognized same-sex marriage was targeted by the federal government. Passage of Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996 defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman. On July 8, 2010, Massachusetts Judge Joseph Tauro determined that denying federal rights and benefits to couples that were lawfully married in Massachusetts was unconstitutional under the Tenth Amendment.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) says that more than 1,138 rights and protections are granted to married couples by the U.S. government. They include Social Security benefits, hospital visitation, estate taxes, family leave and health insurance coverage.
Massachusetts recognized same-sex marriage in 2004. Since that time New Hampshire, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New York, along with Washington D.C. and Indian tribes in Oregon and Washington state have also recognized same-sex marriage. This year, same-sex marriage is being debated in Colorado, New Jersey and Maryland.
The New York Times reports that Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat who is gay, said in an interview that a top adviser to Mr. Obama, whom he would not name, asked him this year: “'What would be the effect if he came out for same-sex marriage?' My own view is that I look at President Obama’s record, he was probably inclined to think that same-sex marriage was legitimate, but as a candidate for president in 2008 that would have been an unwise thing to say,” Mr. Frank said. “And I don’t mean that he’s being hypocritical. I mean that if you live in a democratic society, it is a mix of what you think the voters want and what you think is doable.” The president’s view on same sex marriage is said to be “evolving."
The LGBT community has felt support from the current administration with the repeal of "don’t ask, don’t tell," on September 20, 2011. "Don’t ask, don’t tell" prohibited military personnel from discriminating against gay service members, but barred openly gay people from military service. This policy prohibited people who "demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts" from serving in the armed forces of the United States, because their presence "would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability."
Same-sex marriage will undoubtedly continue to be a hot topic in this year’s election season.
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