U.S. education secretary adds support to gay marriage

WASHINGTON Mon May 7, 2012 11:15pm IST

U.S. President Barack Obama talks about providing states flexibility under reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act as Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (L) applauds in the East Room of the White House in Washington, February 9, 2012. REUTERS/Larry Downing/Files

U.S. President Barack Obama talks about providing states flexibility under reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act as Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (L) applauds in the East Room of the White House in Washington, February 9, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Larry Downing/Files

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. 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)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Gaza Conflict

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Reuters Insight

Reuters Insight

Corrupt Chinese hiding in Western nations elude Beijing's "fox hunt".  Full Article 

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine Crisis

Breakthrough hopes dented as Ukraine accuses Russia of new incursion.  Full Article 

War Crimes

War Crimes

Islamic State commits war crimes, Syrian govt using poison gas - U.N.  Full Article 

Ebola Outbreak

Ebola Outbreak

Ebola vaccine from GSK to begin U.S. clinical trials within weeks - sources.  Full Article 

Nuclear Deal

Nuclear Deal

Deadline passed, no sign of breakthrough in Iran nuclear probe.  Full Article 

Turkey Politics

Turkey Politics

President-elect Erdogan heralds "new Turkey" in last party speech.  Full Article 

Military Rule

Military Rule

Thai premier tells foreign investors: 'We are not dictators'.  Full Article 

New Rocket

New Rocket

NASA says new heavy-lift rocket debut not likely until 2018.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage