Biden: Not On 'God's Green Earth' Was I Going To Stay Silent On Same-Sex Marriage

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Vice President Joe Biden (CNN)

(CNN) -- Speaking to an audience of progressives on Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden reflected on the moment when he came out in favor of same-sex marriage before President Barack Obama.

Biden received high praise from his introducer at the event, who complimented him on his "candor" and credited him with changing the dialogue on the issue in the White House.

The vice president famously admitted that he supported same-sex marriage on NBC's "Meet the Press" in May 2012, taking a step farther that Obama on the issue.

While Obama aides said the President had already "evolved" on this stance at that point and was planning to later roll out his public position, Biden's comments forced Obama to move up his announcement and come out in favor of same-sex marriage just days after the "Meet the Press" interview.

When he took the stage, Biden said he was flattered by the praise he's received from the LGBT community about his remarks.

"To set the record straight ... my comments on 'Meet the Press' were not planned, but what was planned and understood was when I get asked a direct question, I give a direct answer."

The issue could also become a flashpoint between Biden and Hillary Clinton should both decide to run for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. Clinton did not publicly support the right for same-sex couples to legally wed until after she stepped down from her post as secretary of state in 2013.

She has since been pressed by some in the media over why she waited so long. Clinton, however, has maintained that in her role as the nation's top diplomat, she could not weigh in on political issues.

But Biden appears to have embraced a role as a leader in the debate.

"I came out of the civil rights moment and there's no way in God's green Earth that I could sit there and be asked a question about the civil right's issue of our day and remain silent," he said. "It would have made it a lie of who I am."

Biden added that Obama agreed with him at the time of the "Meet the Press" interview.

"There was a tactical difference, possibly, within the White House, as to how and when, but you know, enough is enough," he said, saying Obama hugged him after he saw the interview.

"I get this credit from LGBT community for moving things along, but the credit really goes to the community," Biden continued.

He argued that as more and more people began to come out as gay, it made it easier for straight people to support them, as well.

"I didn't free the LGBT community, what you all did, what they did was free every straight woman and straight man in this country, They freed us," Biden said.


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Greg Kabel
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