There is a “very clear distinction” between President Obama and presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on the issue of same-sex marriage, Obama’s chief campaign adviser said Monday.
David Axelrod made the comment during a conference call with reporters when asked about Vice President Biden’s endorsement Sunday of same-sex marriage. Biden told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he is “absolutely comfortable” with same-sex marriage but noted that Obama ultimately “sets the policy.”
Axelrod told reporters that Biden’s statements “were entirely consistent with the president’s position, which is that couples who are married, whether they’re gay or heterosexual couples, are entitled to the very same rights and very same liberties.”
Referring to the administration’s stance on the Defense of Marriage Act, which the federal government is appealing., Axelrod said: “The president believes that that law is unconstitutional and that if people are married we ought to recognize those marriages and afford them the rights to which they’re entitled.”
The Obama administration announced last year that it would no longer defend the federal law banning the recognition of same-sex marriage because it considers the legislation unconstitutional, an unexpected and rare reversal that was cheered by gay rights groups.
Though Axelrod sounded reluctant to discuss the issue again Monday — after tweeting about it Sunday — he quickly contrasted the Obama administration’s position on gay rights with Romney’s record.
The former Massachusetts governor “has funded efforts to roll back marriage laws in California and other places,” Axelrod said, adding that Romney “believes that we need a constitutional amendment banning the right of gay couples to marry and would take us backward not forward. There’s a very clear distinction in this race.”
Axelrod was referring to a state political action committee run by Romney, Free Strong America PAC Alabama, that gave $10,000 to a conservative group that has come under scrutiny for plans to “drive a wedge” between African Americans and gays. The PAC, one of a network