Michelangelo Signorile writes about the Joe Biden endorsement of marriage equality and the gay panic it sent David Axelrod into.
Who exactly was supposed to be appeased by Axelrod's tweet? The Christian right, which isn't voting for Obama and believes he is for gay marriage no matter how many tweets Axelrod sends? Or is it independents, who really couldn't care less about this issue but see another episode in which an indecisive, fearful leader doesn't take a stand, the opposite of the kind of leader independents like to vote for? Is there really a group of voters out there that would switch votes from Obama to Romney because the vice president -- who is unlikely to ever become president -- vaguely supports marriage equality?
The answer is no on all counts. And that's how you know it's a gay panic -- an irrational fear of all things gay that has politicians acting on impulse rather than reason.
The walk-back was offensive because it was another slap in the face, a reminder that this "fierce advocate" not only doesn't support full equality but can't tolerate it even from his number two. However vague Biden may have been, there's no question he articulated a different position from the president. He prefaced his comments by saying, "I am vice president of the United States of America. The president sets the policy." That was a clear admission that he had a different opinion than Obama. And Biden's office stressed that the comments were Biden's own comments, not the administration's. Why would that matter if Biden's own opinion was the same as Obama's?
Signorile points out that the Bush administration respected a wider difference of opinion. Dick Cheney has supported most LGBT rights for more than decade, while George W. proposed a constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality. So, the Bush administration looks more tolerant of difference.