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Biden has called gay marriage ‘inevitable’ and soon it will be the law

A decade ago, then-Vice President Joe Biden shocked the political world and preempted his boss by suddenly declaring his support for same-sex marriage on national television. But not everyone was surprised.

A small group had attended a private fundraiser with Biden weeks earlier in Los Angeles, where he revealed not only his approval, but his firm conclusion on a positive future for same-sex marriage.

He predicted, “Things are changing so quickly that it’s going to be a short-term political liability for someone to say, ‘I oppose same-sex marriage.'”

“Notice my words. And my job – our job – is to keep that momentum going towards the inevitable.”

The day Biden envisioned may have arrived. He plans on Tuesday to sign legislation, passed by bipartisan majorities in Congress, to protect gay unions — though the Supreme Court is expected to review its ruling backing a nationwide right for same-sex couples to marry.

Biden’s signing will reinforce his legacy as a champion of equality at a time when the LGBTQ community is keen to protect legal changes from a right-wing backlash that has used inflammatory rhetoric, particularly against transgender people.

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Politics was very different a decade ago, when gay rights activists were frustrated with President Barack Obama. He had made some changes, like eliminating the “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule that barred gay men from openly serving in the military, but stopped short of embracing marriage equality.

As Obama’s vice president, Biden shared the same position. So there was some tension in April 2012 when Biden attended a fundraiser at the Los Angeles home of a married gay couple and their children.

Chad Griffin, an activist who had also helped organize the event, decided to ask Biden about it.

“When you arrived tonight, you met Michael and Sonny and their two beautiful children,” he told Biden. “And I wonder if you can just speak frankly and honestly about your personal views on marital equality.”

Biden replied, “All you have to do is look into those kids’ eyes. And no one can wonder, no one can wonder whether or not they are cared for, fed, loved and strengthened. And folks, what’s happening is everybody’s starting to see it.”

Just over two weeks later, Biden was on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and host David Gregory asked if he supports gay marriage.

Biden said the question boils down to “will you be faithful to the person you love? And that’s what people are finding out, that’s what all marriages are, basically, whatever about lesbian or gay or heterosexual marriages.

Biden said the president, not him, “determines policy.” But he said same-sex couples should have “full civil rights, full civil liberties”.

It was an unusually improvised moment in carefully choreographed Washington.

For Biden, “all politics is personal,” said Bruce Reed, the White House deputy chief of staff who also served as chief of staff in Biden’s vice presidential office. “And I think that’s what made him speak his mind.”

Not everyone was happy. Obama was left behind by his vice president, and three days later did an interview to reveal his own support for same-sex marriage. He said Biden was “a little over his skis” but there were no hard feelings.

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The following year, the Supreme Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, and Jim Obergefell proposed to his partner, John Arthur.

They married in Maryland, where it was legal, but their home state of Ohio would not recognize their union. Although Arthur passed away, their legal battle continued all the way to the Supreme Court. Obergefell first met Biden in 2015.

“I just remember walking up to him and he hugged me and the first words that came out of his mouth were condolences for the loss of my husband,” he said.

The Supreme Court quickly legalized same-sex marriage nationwide in a decision known as Obergefell v. Hodges.

The issue resurfaced in June when the court’s conservative majority overturned Roe v. Wade, who legalized abortion in 1973. In a concurring opinion, Judge Clarence Thomas wrote that the court “should also reconsider” other precedents, including the Obergefell decision.

Supporters believed they could muster enough Republican votes to avoid a filibuster in the Senate and protect same-sex marriages. They were right.

Oberfelfell, however, does not experience a sense of satisfaction.

“We now know that the rights people relied on and expected are no longer secure,” he said.

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It’s a common sentiment right now in the face of political attacks on LGBTQ issues.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., signed a law limiting teachers’ ability to speak about sexual orientation or gender identity in schools. In Texas, GOP Governor Greg Abbott wants state child welfare investigators to consider gender-affirming care a form of abuse.

Protesters, sometimes armed, showed up at events where drag queens were reading to children. Five people were shot dead at a gay club in Colorado last month. The suspect has been charged with hate crimes.

Biden has taken steps to protect the rights of transgender people, such as reinstating anti-discrimination provisions removed by Donald Trump. He also ended the ban on transgender people serving in the military.

Sarah McBride, a transgender state senator from Biden’s home state of Delaware, said it was a comfort “for so many of us, who feel scared, vulnerable or alone, to know that the leader of this country, the leader of the free world, not only sees us but embraces us.”

McBride worked for Biden’s eldest son, Beau, during his campaigns for Delaware attorney general. Before Beau died of brain cancer in 2015, he helped pass Delaware laws legalizing same-sex marriage and banning discrimination based on gender identity. McBride said the experience deepened the elder Biden’s commitment to these issues and “he carries on Beau’s legacy.”

Ahead of last month’s midterm elections, the White House hosted Dylan Mulvaney, a Broadway performer who chronicled her gender transition on TikTok, to talk about transgender issues with Biden.

Asked by Mulvaney how leaders can better stand up for transgender people, Biden said it’s important to be “seen with people like you.”

“People are afraid of what they don’t know. They fear what they don’t know,” he said. “And when people realize, individuals realize, ‘Oh, that’s what they’re telling me to be afraid of, that’s the problem.’ I mean, people change their minds.


The Independent Gt

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
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