Democratic presidential candidate Joseph Biden told an LGBT audience Saturday night he gets “more credit for marriage equality than I deserve,” according to a campaign pool report.
Biden made the comments after reflecting on his words in favor of same-sex marriage on “Meet the Press” in 2012, which preceded the conclusion of President Obama’s in favor of same-sex marriage and wins for marriage equality at the ballot box that year.
“I get more credit for marriage equality than I deserve,” Biden told the crowd of about 200 people at the fundraiser, which was hosted by gay philanthropist Tim Gill and his spouse Scott Miller.
Reflecting on his position on marriage equality, Biden said, “I didn’t have to evolve very much.” (In 1996, Biden as a U.S. senator from Delaware was one of 85 senators to vote in favor of the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibited federal recognition of same-sex marriage.)
Much of Biden’s speech, according to the pool report, consisted of stories he told in the past about his experience with LGBT people, including the story about his father warning him in high school not to be bigoted against gay people.
“I told the president I wouldn’t get out ahead of him, but if I got asked the question I couldn’t keep quiet,” Biden said. “I wasn’t going to be silent on it.”
In terms of LGBT policy, Biden reiterated his support for the Equality Act, saying he wants the legislation to be the “first bill I want to sign.”
“The first bill I want to sign is the Equality Act because today you can be married in a number of states on Saturday and be fired on Monday when you go into work,” Biden said. “And it’s gotta change. And most people don’t even know that. If we let them know that, we can change the law across the country.”
Other components of Biden’s remarks included condemnation of Trump’s rhetoric, free community college and training programs for displaced workers and Amazon leading to the elimination of retail jobs across the country.
Gill, who supports Biden, emphasized Biden’s record at the fundraiser and said “America needs a president with that experience,” according to the pool report.
“And experience matters,” Gill said. “The ability to craft and pass legislation matters. The ability to rally people to your cause matters.”
The Washington Blade has placed a request in with the Biden campaign seeking comment on the amount raised at the fundraiser and the cost of a ticket.