Just finished reading this article on yahoo.
Biden Apologizes to Obama Over Shotgun Comments on Gay Marriage
What exactly is the issue here?
The first thing that came to my mind when Biden made the statement was that it bore a striking similarity to Dick Cheney's remarks from back in 2004. For any who don't know, Dick Cheney's daughter Mary is a lesbian.
As you can read here in this composition from ontheissues.org, Dick Cheney is clear that he holds a view that differs from that of President Bush, but he wraps up his position with the qualifier,
“My own preference is as I’ve stated, but the president makes policy for the administration.” Source: Todd Dvorak, Associated Press Writer in SF Chronicle , Aug 24, 2004
Compare that to Biden's qualifier,
“Look, I am vice president of the United States of America. The president sets the policy,’’ Biden said. “I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying [one] another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties. And, quite frankly, I don’t see much of a distinction beyond that.’’ Source: Callum Borchers, Boston Globe, May 8, 2012
So when it comes to a vice president and president disagreeing on a matter of policy, this policy in particular, we should be on really familiar and really non-newsworthy territory. Both vice presidents said the same thing. They said, "Here's how I feel, but I'm not the president so it's not going to be expressed in policy" which is not an Earth-shattering statement.
Why was this considered a contentious Biden gaffe?
Why did this get any attention at all?