Vice President Joe Biden thanked gay rights advocates for advancing civil rights for all citizens on Sunday, telling attendees at a campaign stop in Provincetown, Mass., “You are freeing the soul of the American people.”
Biden spoke in the morning at the Pilgrim Monument and Museum in the popular LGBT destination at the tip of Cape Cod. Around 300 people listened to his hour-long speech, which “focused heavily on civil rights,” according to the pool report. The vice president credited the crowd, many of whom wore signs of LGBT pride, with advancing the “civil rights of every straight American.”
“Many of you have advanced civil rights at great expense,” he said. “If I had to use one adjective to describe this community it’d be courage. You have summoned the courage to speak out, to come out. We owe you.”
The vice president revealed his support for marriage equality during an interview with Meet the Press in May. His apparent slip prompted President Obama to clarify his own support just a few days later. The position has been included for the first time this year in the Democratic Party’s platform.
Biden also traveled to the Hamptons on Friday afternoon for a fundraiser at a private home. Some of the guests included actor Nathan Lane and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who represents New York and has emerged as a prominent advocate for LGBT rights.
About 300 people attended the event, with tickets ranging in price from $500 to $10,000, according to a pool report. Lane welcomed guests by making jokes about Republicans that the crowd greeted with laughter.
“I’m here to welcome all of you to someone else’s home,” he said. “Please on your way out feel free to go through the medicine cabinet and take whatever you need. Or as Republicans call it, our plan to save Medicare.”
The Birdcage star also poked fun at Congressman Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s running mate, with a Wizard of Oz reference. He took aim at the Wisconsin representative’s approach to fixing Medicare.
“I think his precise words to Medicare were ‘I’ll fix you, my pretty’ as he rode off on his broom,” said Lane.
Vice President Biden was scheduled to travel to Tampa, Fla., on Monday to counter the Republican National Convention, but the campaign trip was postponed due to concerns about tropical storm Isaac. The GOP has delayed the start of its convention by one day.