Education secretary adds support to gay marriage

WASHINGTON Mon May 7, 2012 3:26pm EDT

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan attends a dinner for the National Governor's Association at the White House in Washington February 27, 2011. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan attends a dinner for the National Governor's Association at the White House in Washington February 27, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said on Monday that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, following a similar comment from Vice President Joe Biden the day before.

The views of Duncan and Biden contrast with that of President Barack Obama, who has said he is "evolving" on the issue of gay marriage.

Duncan was asked on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program if he believes same-sex couples should legally be allowed to wed.

"Yes, I do," he said. Asked if he had ever stated his position before, Duncan said, "I don't think I've ever been asked publicly."

Gay marriage looms as an issue in Obama's re-election campaign against Republican Mitt Romney leading up to November's vote. An endorsement of gay marriage could help energize Democratic supporters but also could alienate more conservative independent voters, one reason why Obama has been reticent on the topic.

Duncan's remarks came a day after Biden made headlines in an NBC interview by saying he was "absolutely comfortable" with allowing same-sex couples to marry.

After the interview, a Biden representative said the vice president "was expressing that he too is evolving on the issue, after meeting so many committed couples and families in this country."

Senior Obama campaign aide David Axelrod wrote on Twitter that Biden was saying that "all married couples should have exactly the same legal rights," which he said was Obama's position.

The support from Biden and Duncan comes ahead of a statewide referendum in North Carolina on Tuesday on whether to amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriages and civil unions.

Obama had pushed last year's repeal of a policy banning gays from serving openly in the armed forces. The law, commonly known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," had allowed gay men and women to serve in the military only if they kept their sexual orientation a secret.

(Reporting By Lily Kuo; Editing by Bill Trott)

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Comments (7)
crbob wrote:
Obama and the democrats are comfortable with supporting homosexual and lesbian “marriage”, this topic and many more will sink them in the November election, frankly I don’t want any of my Federal tax dollars going to support the concept of a man and a man or a woman and a woman being united in marriage as hetrosexual couples are….this goes against the principles of society, our constitution, and the holy Bible….

May 07, 2012 2:12pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
billysive wrote:
Not sure how your tax dollars will be supporting marriages. But if that is the case then I don’t want any of MY tax dollars supporting heterosexual marriages – which statistically are likely to fail since heterosexuals have ruined the institution you are theoretically trying to protect. Also it may go against the Holy Bible (but only if you follow it strictly enough to obey ALL of the laws in Leviticus), but ist certainly does not go against our constitution. It only goes against YOUR notion of what it should be.

May 07, 2012 2:24pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
saywhatt286 wrote:
Nonsense it is compliance with the constitution’s nondiscrimination policy, and with the principles on which this country was founded (the right of every individual to persue life, liberty and happiness. We could argue all day on the bible, but it never changes anyone’s mind, so we won’t waste the time. Just as an aside for those ascribing this as ‘the democratic position, I believe both men were asked THEIR opinion, not the position of the White House or the democratic party.

May 07, 2012 2:26pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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