Fact Check

Did Biden Say in 2006 That 'Marriage Is Between a Man and a Woman'?

As president, Biden signed into law federal marriage protections for same-sex couples in December 2022.

Published Jun 25, 2023

 ( Getty Images)
Image Via Getty Images
In a 2006 TV interview, then-U.S. Sen. Joe Biden described marriage as being "between a man and a woman."

In June 2023, video clips began to spread across social media platforms that claimed U.S. President Joe Biden, who has supported same-sex marriage during his presidency, previously said marriage "was between a man and a woman."

We found the most prominent post stating the claim on Twitter. "Joe Biden on Gay Marriages," a Twitter account posted on June 11, 2023, along with a compilation of clips claiming to show Biden's stance on the issue over time. We originally found the video posted on Facebook by the conservative news site Daily Caller in July 2020.

The tweet was a response to a post about White House Pride celebrations that was posted on Biden's official @POTUS Twitter account the previous day.

We found posts related to the claim on other social media platforms, including Reddit, TikTok, YouTube, and Facebook, as well as Instagram in March 2023.

Biden did say that marriage was "between a man and a woman" in 2006. On June 4, 2006, Biden, a U.S. senator from Delaware at the time, appeared as a guest on "Meet the Press." We found a transcript of the episode on NBC's website, as well as a clip of his appearance on the show. The NBC clip contained both his 2006 appearance on "Meet the Press" and a later appearance in 2012.

During the appearance, then-"Meet the Press" host Tim Russert commented that former President George W. Bush had been publicly discussing a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Biden responded by citing issues he saw as pressing to address, like avian flu, which people were worried would become a pandemic at the time.

Biden subsequently said:

I can't believe the American people can't see through this. We already have a law, the Defense of Marriage Act. We've all voted—not, where I've voted, and others have 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. What's the game going on here? And now we're going to also vote, right after that, about desecration of the flag. If you can't...

After Russert asked if Republicans successfully used issues like gay marriage to show Democrats were "out of sync" on "cultural and values," Biden continued to express skepticism that Republicans could address issues like health care or national security. 

Biden then said:

But no one wants to offend anybody. We don't want to offend the oil companies. We don't want to offend the auto workers. We don't want to offend anybody. And what are we going to do? Because we don't want to make any hard decisions, let's go talk about gay marriage. I think it's ridiculous.

Reputable publications verified the clip. In 2020, The Washington Blade wrote a story about the Trump campaign using the video against Biden during the latter's 2020 presidential campaign, with the headline, "Biden opposes same-sex marriage in 2006 clip blasted out by Trump campaign." 

In 2012, Biden changed his position and expressed support for same-sex marriage on the same show, "Meet the Press," saying:

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.

He signed the Respect for Marriage Act in 2022, which gave federal recognition to same-sex and interracial marriages.


Dwyer, Devin. "What the Respect for Marriage Act Does and Doesn't Do." ABC News, https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/respect-marriage-act-same-sex-interracial-couples/story?id=95181737. Accessed 21 June 2023.

Issenberg, Sasha. "How Same-Sex Marriage Shaped Joe Biden." POLITICO, 6 May 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2022/05/06/joe-biden-gay-marriage-00030367.

Johnson, Chris. "Biden Opposes Same-Sex Marriage in 2006 Clip Blasted out by Trump Campaign." The Washington Blade, 19 June 2020, https://www.washingtonblade.com/2020/06/19/biden-opposes-same-sex-marriage-in-2006-clip-blasted-out-by-trump-campaign/.

NBC News "President Joe Biden Announces Support for Gay Marriage." NBC News, https://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/video/president-joe-biden-calls-for-unity-in-a-divided-time-152063557504. Accessed 21 June 2023.

NPR. "Companies Prepare for Possibility of Pandemic." NPR, 21 Oct. 2007. NPR, https://www.npr.org/2007/10/21/15492093/companies-prepare-for-possibility-of-pandemic.

Sturcke, James, and David Batty. "Bird Flu around the World: A Guide." The Guardian, 6 Apr. 2006. The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2006/apr/06/birdflu.davidbatty.

"Transcript for June 4." NBC News, 4 June 2006, https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna13085904.

Izz Scott LaMagdeleine is a fact-checker for Snopes.

Read More

a Member

Your membership is the foundation of our sustainability and resilience.


Ad-Free Browsing on Snopes.com
Members-Only Newsletter
Cancel Anytime