President Joe Biden recently appeared on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show," hosted by actor Kal Penn, where he recalled a story about having an "epiphany" regarding same-sex marriage in 1961.
However, Biden's recollection of his story is littered with inconsistencies, changing at least four times since 2014, contradicting his claims that he had his mind changed on the topic of gay marriage in both 1961 and the mid-1980s.
As well, the president has also openly opposed gay marriage in 1996 and 2006, while openly rejecting gay lifestyles in 1973 as well as 1994.
Biden's 2023 answer to Penn on Comedy Central went as follows:
"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 remember 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," he began.
"They gave each other a kiss, and then one went, he looked like he was heading to the department of [undecipherable] building, and the other looked like he was heading to the Hercules Corporation," he added.
“And I’ll never forget, I turned and looked to my dad. He said, ‘Joey, it’s simple. They love each other,’” Biden concluded.
In comparison, Biden's 2014 version of the story included that he was a "junior in high school," not a senior. Biden again says that he was in the car with his father, about to go drop off a job application, saying that "he didn't want to park, he was dropping me off."
In 2015, however, the story changed, saying that he wasn't being dropped off; rather, he was going to get an application, then drive his father to work.
"My dad pulled up [in a courthouse square in Wilmington] to let me run out and get an application for this job in the city, and then I was going to drive him to work and drive myself home," he said.
A different 2014 version of the story in the New York Times positions President Biden as the father in the tale, speaking to one of his sons: His son "looked up at him quizzically after seeing two men headed off to work kiss each other goodbye on a busy street corner. I said, ‘They love each other, honey,’ and that was it. So it was never anything that was a struggle in my mind.”
In 1973, Biden's first year as a senator, the Wilmington Morning News reported him saying that his "gut reaction is that they [homosexuals in the military] are security risks, but I must admit I haven’t given this much thought."
In 1987, the L.A. Times reported that Biden refused to speak to two gay, male supporters until his father forced him to.
"'Look, damn it, you’re my son, aren’t you?’... ‘I’m telling you that they’re good people,'" Biden recalled his father saying.
But in 1994, Biden co-sponsored an amendment to “cut off federal funds to any school district that teaches acceptance of homosexuality as a lifestyle.”
The former senator also voted for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996, defining “‘marriage’ as only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.”
Ten years later, Biden said that "marriage is between a man and a woman and states must respect that," during an interview.
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