President Joe Biden claimed Monday that he began supporting same-sex marriage when he was a senior in high school and witnessed two men kiss.
Biden graduated high school in 1961, and despite saying he had his “epiphany” in high school, went on to publicly oppose same-sex marriage for decades.
Biden’s claims after Comedy Central’s Kal Penn asked the president about his “evolution” on marriage equality.
“I can remember exactly when my epiphany was,” Biden began.
“I hadn’t thought much about it, to tell you the truth. And I was a senior in high school. And my dad was dropping me off and I was about to get out of the car and I looked to my right and two well-dressed men in suits kissed each other. I mean, they gave each other a kiss. And then one went, looked like he was headed to the Dupont building, one looked like he was going to the Hercules Corporation building,” he said. (RELATED: Biden Signs ‘Respect For Marriage Act’ Into Law)
“And I’ll never forget, I turned and looked at my dad, he said, Joe, it is simple. They love each other. It is simple. I’m not joking. It is simple. They love each other. And it has never been — it has never been — it is just that simple. It doesn’t matter whether it is same-sex or heterosexual couple. You should be able to be married,” Biden added.
Biden opposed same-sex marriage for decades to come as a senator and then as vice president.
Biden voted in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, which defined marriage as between one man and one woman.
He said he was opposed to former President George W. Bush amending the Constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman, but referenced his support for the Defense of Marriage Act to do so.
“We already have a law, the Defense of Marriage Act, we’ve all voted, not, or I voted and others and said, ‘Look, marriage is between a man and a woman, and states must respect that. Nobody’s violated that law; there’s been no challenge to that law; why do we need a constitutional amendment? Marriage is between a man and a woman,” Biden said in a 2006 interview.
In a 2008 vice presidential debate, Biden declared he would not be in favor of supporting same-sex marriage.
“No. Barack Obama nor I support redefining from a civil side what constitutes marriage,” Biden said at the time.
Biden publicly changed his tune on same-sex marriage in 2012, when he made remarks that went outside of Barack Obama’s views.
“I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties,” Biden said at the time. “Who do you love? And will you be loyal to the person you love? And that’s what people are finding out is what all marriages, at their root, are about, whether they’re marriages of lesbians or gay men or heterosexuals.”