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Joe Biden: Wish I'd Spoken Earlier for Marriage Rights, Against Trump

Joe Biden

Biden made the comments at the Human Rights Campaign's National Dinner, where Anne Hathaway denounced white, straight, and cis privilege.

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Speaking at the Human Rights Campaign's National Dinner Saturday night in Washington, D.C., former Vice President Joe Biden said he wished he'd spoken out for marriage equality earlier - and also spoken out against Donald Trump before he did.

When he signed on as Barack Obama's running mate in 2008, Biden agreed, "I would not affirmatively make the case [for marriage equality], but if I was asked, I would not remain silent," he told the audience at the HRC event.

When he finally spoke out in 2012, "It was very late," Biden said. He publicly endorsed marriage equality in May of that year on Meet the Press, and Obama followed soon afterward - and they were reelected easily that November.

On Trump, Biden said, "Barack and I agreed we would be quiet for the first year to let the new administration get up and running." Biden, a Catholic, then said, "God forgive me," and made the sign of the cross.

Actress Anne Hathaway, receiving the HRC's Equality Award at the dinner, denounced white, straight, and cisgender privilege. "It is important to acknowledge with the exception of being a cisgender male, everything about how I was born has put me at the current center of a damaging and widely accepted myth," she said. "That myth is that gayness orbits around straightness, transgender orbits around cisgender, and that all races orbit around whiteness."

She said she has been shocked by the bigotry she hears expressed every day, but that being at the HRC event has restored her faith in humanity.

Watch the speeches by Biden, Hathaway, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, and HRC president Chad Griffin below.

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.