May 10th, 2012
04:11 PM ET
Washington (CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden gave no indication the White House was planning to change its position on same sex marriage when he was asked about just weeks ago at an LGBT fundraiser in Los Angeles April 19, two attendees tells CNN. Because it was an off the record event these participants did not want to be named, but tell CNN when Biden was asked about gay marriage he talked about his comfort with gay and lesbian couples raising families but added that the president sets the policy and offered no indication that there would be a shift in policy.
On the “CBS This Morning”, the co-creator of the television series “Will and Grace,” who also attended that fundraiser, said that he believed the vice president’s remarks were “choreographed” because his remarks at the fund-raiser were recorded by the White House and were so similar to his comments on NBC’s “Meet the Press” this past Sunday. White House officials confirm to CNN that it’s standard to record every event the president and vice president attend as a record, whether they’re public or private events.
That fund-raiser has taken on unexpected significance –in part because that’s where the vice president met the two young children he referenced in his comments to David Gregory on NBC Sunday. In explaining his change of heart in support of gay marriage, he said it was partly seeing the happy children, ages 7 and 5, of the gay couple who hosted that fundraiser. Sources say Biden met with the hosts and their children privately before the larger fund-raiser began – it was an impromptu meeting. And the vice president told Gregory the kids gave him flowers and he told THEIR fathers: "I wish every American could see the look of love those kids had in their eyes for you guys, and they wouldn't have any doubt about what this is about."
One source tells CNN the Vice President gave a nearly five minute answer and never explicitly states his support for gay marriage but left the clear impression he supported it. Another confirms the vice president did say “Will and Grace” helped him come to a greater acceptance of gay and lesbian same-sex partners. But the majority of his remarks focused on the president’s work overturning the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy and extending some federal benefits to same sex couples as well as repeatedly drawing a contrast with Mitt Romney on gay and lesbian rights.
An attendee tells CNN it was Chad Griffin, the incoming head of the Human Rights Campaign, who asked Biden the question that prompted it all. Griffin, a leading same sex marriage advocate, is also a major Obama donor. Griffin is said to have asked the Vice President, “you were greeted by our hosts….who are the married parents of those two beautiful children you met. Can you tell all of us in the room you own views about marriage equality?”
In conversations with multiple Democrats, senior administration officials and top aides to President Obama, not one indicated to CNN this was a choreographed strategy. Instead they have indicated the vice president got ahead of the president’s policy and rollout.
The vice president originally voted to support the Defense of Marriage Act when he was a senator in the 1990s but multiple Democratic sources say his position on the issue also evolved in recent years.
Los Angeles Democrats are organizing a major LGBT fundraiser for the President in Los Angeles on June 6th.