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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 17, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 29
Equality in employment is next step, Joe Biden says
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Equality in employment is next step, Joe Biden says

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Equality in employment is the next step for the LGBT community, Vice President Joe Biden said in a July 9 speech at a Freedom to Marry event in New York City.

'There are still 32 states where marriage can be recognized in the morning and you can be fired in the afternoon,' Biden said.

Biden was the guest of honor at the event. Freedom to Marry founder Evan Wolfson has had a long personal history with Biden, starting as his intern when Biden was a newly elected U.S. Senator.

'I've never been so happy to be with an outfit that's going out of business,' the Vice President told the gathering.

He congratulated the group for their role in winning marriage equality, and said the fight for equal rights in the workplace would be easier.

'I want you to know that this next door will be a hell of a lot easier to open,' Biden said.

Biden famously 'spilled the beans' in 2012, saying on Meet the Press that he supported marriage equality while President Obama's people were still trying to figure out when and how to address the subject. Later that year, he said that Trans rights were 'the civil rights issue of our time.'

Biden said he credits his father with giving him an accepting attitude.

Recounting an incident when, as a teenager, he and his father happened to see a same-sex couple kissing, he said he still remembered what his father told him.

'It's been based on this very simple proposition best expressed to me by my dad as a 17-year-old kid,' Biden said.

'I turned and looked at my dad, and I'll never forget what he said: 'Joey, they love each other, it's simple.'

Biden's own son, the late Beau Biden, was also an outspoken ally of the LGBT community.

Some observers believe Biden's speech to the Freedom to Marry gathering means he has not given up his presidential ambitions, and will enter the race to challenge Hillary Clinton, Martin O'Malley, and Bernie Sanders.

Biden was a candidate for the Democratic nomination in 2008, but dropped out after finishing fifth in the Iowa caucuses. On the campaign trail he became fast friends with then-Senator Obama, who later picked him as his running mate.

A Roman Catholic, Biden has been criticized by the Catholic bishop of Wilmington, Delaware, because of his pro-choice stand, and was once barred from communion by the Roman Catholic bishop of Scanton, Pennsylvania.

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