US education secretary Arne Duncan endorses equal marriage

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Following US vice-president Joe Biden’s announcement that he supports equal marriage, the US education secretary, Arne Duncan, has followed suit by saying he supports the move in a live interview with MSNBC.

When interviewed by Time magazine’s Mark Halperin, on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, he was asked whether same-sex couples should be legally allowed to marry. To which Mr Duncan replied, “Yes, I do.” Mr Halperin then asked if he had ever said that publicly before, to which he responded: “I don’t think I’ve ever been asked publicly before.”

This contrasts with President’s Obama’s own silence on the matter, wherein he has only said that his views on equal marriage were “evolving.”

US media have begun speculating whether this signals a shift for the administration as a whole, with the Obama administration, already supportive of civil partnerships, might actually support equal marriage. But, in a press conference that followed the release of Mr Obama’s campaign video, his political strategist, David Axelrod, played down the possibility of an imminent change.

During the press conference, Mr Axelrod said that Mr Biden’s comments were “entirely consistent with the president’s position, which is that couples who are married, whether they are gay or heterosexual couples are entitled to the very same liberties.” However, he also did not waste the opportunity to denounce Mitt Romney, who, he said, “has funded efforts to roll back marriage laws in California and other places” and “believes that we need a constitutional amendment banning the right of gay couples to marry and would take us backward not forward.”

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