Tim Kaine, Virginia Senate candidate and former chair of the Democratic National Convention, danced around the issue of same sex marriage on Tuesday.
Kaine was questioned by reporters at a breakfast sponsored by Third Way about the issue, according to the National Journal.
He said that he supported the “legal equality of relationships.”
“The number one issue,” Kaine explained,” is should committed couples have the same legal rights and responsibilities and the answer to that is an unequivocal yes.”
But the candidate refused to endorse same sex marriage, claiming that labels just “get in the way.”
“Is it marriage, is it civil unions, is it domestic partners? I kind of let that one go,” he said.
Kaine is running against former Virginia governor and U.S Sen. George Allen, who supports a federal marriage amendment establishing that marriage is solely between one man.
A number of prominent Democrats — including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Vice President Joe Biden and Education Secretary Arne Duncan — have recently backed same sex marriage. President Barack Obama continues to say he is opposed to fully legalizing same sex marriage, but supports giving equal rights to gays and lesbian couples. However, Obama also picked Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) to lead the DNC in 2011, and she’s a strong proponent of marriage equality.
The current DNC platform supports “equal responsibilities, benefits and protections” for same sex couples, but it does not specifically address marriage. The party’s national convention will be held in September.
With prior reporting by Stephen C. Webster
[Image via Billy Hunt, Creative Commons licensed]