Biden Said Both He and Obama Didn’t Support ‘Gay Marriage’ in 2008?

Claim:

In 2008, when asked about his support for “gay marriage,” then-vice-presidential-candidate Joe Biden said: “No. Barack Obama, nor I, support redefining from a civil side what constitutes marriage. We do not support that.”

Rating:

Correct Attribution

In late June 2024, as Pride month drew to a close and the 2024 presidential campaign heated up in the U.S., several social media posts went viral claiming that when asked in 2008 if he supported “gay marriage,” then-vice-presidential-candidate Joe Biden said he and then-presidential candidate Barack Obama did not support “redefining, from a civil side, what constitutes marriage.”

The quote is authentic, meaning that the footage was not digitally or otherwise altered, and was correctly attributed to Biden.

The clip shared was from the 2008 vice presidential debate between Biden, a Democrat, and then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a Republican. The full clip is viewable on C-SPAN below, with the segment in question beginning at minute 34:56.

After moderator Gwen Ifill asked Biden whether he supported granting same-sex benefits to couples, Biden emphatically stated that he and Obama both supported granting those benefits. However, when pressed further, he confirmed that they did not support redefining, from a civil side, what constitutes marriage. In other words, they did not support legal marriage for same-sex couples but did support the same benefits for “committed” same-sex couples as those granted to “committed” heterosexual couples. The full transcript of Biden’s answers is as follows:

Both Obama and Biden later changed their position on marriage rights for same-sex couples. In a 2010 Q&A session with progressive bloggers held at the White House, Obama said that “attitudes evolve, including mine. And I think that it is an issue that I wrestle with and think about because I have a whole host of friends who are in gay partnerships. I have staff members who are in committed, monogamous relationships, who are raising children, who are wonderful parents.”

By 2012, Biden stated in an NBC interview: “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.”

On June 1, 2024, Biden wrote on X: “We recommit to realizing the promise of America for all, to celebrating LGBTQI+ people, and to taking pride in the example they set.”

In sum, because Biden did once say that he did not support “redefining from a civil side what constitutes marriage,” we rate this claim “Correct Attribution.”

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