Anything you can do, allies, Joe Biden has already done.
The vice president once again showed LGBT allies how to model support. This time, he tweeted a photo on Tuesday taken when he officiated the wedding of two men who were White House staffers. The internet went wild for the image, taken when Brian Mosteller, director of Oval Office operations, and Joe Mashie, a trip coordinator for the first lady, got hitched at a ceremony held at Biden’s own home. They reportedly asked the vice president for the honor.
President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have yet to officiate a same-sex wedding. But given Biden’s track record on these things, he’s probably ahead of a trend. Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s already done it, and so has New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, but Biden is still ahead of the curve.
Proud to marry Brian and Joe at my house. Couldn't be happier, two longtime White House staffers, two great guys. pic.twitter.com/0om1PT7bKh
— Vice President Biden (@VP) August 1, 2016
Biden famously beat Obama to the microphone on announcing his support for marriage equality, answering during an interview on Meet the Press in 2012 that, “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.”
The president would follow a few days later. And the scuttlebutt was that Biden had forced the president to move more quickly on marriage than he’d planned. That’s how it was reported in Forcing the Spring, a book by Jo Becker.
Then Biden did it again. And again.
In 2012, he called transgender rights the “civil rights issue of our time.” He used that phrase again in October 2015 when announcing he wanted to end the military’s ban on transgender people serving openly, which didn’t happen until this year.
“No longer is there any question transgender people are able to serve in the United States military,” he said, even as the government was still reviewing the policy.
It should come as no surprise that the first Obama administration politician to back the Equality Act in Congress was Biden, not Obama. He made the announcement during a Human Rights Campaign keynote speech, calling for a strategy to build national support. Clinton endorsed it the same weekend.
When there’s a big moment for LGBT people, Biden is often there. After Sarah McBride became the first transgender person ever to speak at a national convention last week, it was Biden out with the congratulatory tweet.
.@SarahEMcBride - Beau loved you, I love you, and all the Bidens are proud of you. -Joe
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) July 29, 2016
Biden was the biggest speaker at celebration for Freedom to Marry held back in July 2015, wishing it well after the big marriage equality win, and noting that it was founder Evan Wolfson who had once inspired him with his law school thesis paper to fight the nomination of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court, which led to Anthony Kennedy getting the seat instead. And, everyone knows how that ended, with Kennedy writing the majority opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges.
Joe Biden is everyone’s favorite vice president right now. A trend of his favorability rating as tracked by the Huffington Post shows his numbers spiking right now with 51 percent favorable, and 37 percent unfavorable. That’s a +14, which Clinton or Donald Trump would love to have heading into Election Day. Obama is at a +8 in that same YouGov/Economist poll, with Clinton and Trump both viewed unfavorably.