Joe Biden Calls on Congress to Pass Gay Rights Bill

Joe Biden HRC - H - 2014
Associated Press

"Dignity and respect has to remain our North Star,” Biden tells 1,000 attendees at the Human Rights Campaign's annual dinner in LA. The vice president also singles out HBO's Michael Lombardo and partner Sonny Ward for praise.

At a gathering of gay rights advocates in Los Angeles on Saturday, Vice President Joe Biden called on Congress to pass a law that would ban workplace discrimination against gays in the U.S.

Biden, appearing at the Human Rights Campaign's annual dinner, also said the the rights of LGBT people is an “inseparable” part of the Obama administration’s foreign policy agenda. "Dignity and respect has to remain our North Star,” Biden said.

During a Meet the Press interview in the run-up to the 2012 election, Biden became an instant hero in the LGBT community after he unexpectedly announced -- without the approval of the White House -- that he was "absolutely comfortable" with same-sex marriage.

His comments forced President Barack Obama, who had been "evolving" on gay rights, to express his own support for same-sex marriage.

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During his Meet the Press appearance, Biden talked about meeting the children of HBO's Michael Lombardo and his partner, architect Sonny Ward, during a campaign stop. At the time, he said the encounter had a profound impact on his views of same-sex parents and their children.

The vice president recounted the story on Saturday night.

"I walked into Michael and Sonny's home through the kitchen," Biden said. "They were standing there with their two beautiful children, ages 5 and 7. I gave them a big hug. We talked for a bit."

"If every American could have just been there and seen the love these kids had for their parents," Biden said. "Just seeing how normal it all was -- and not the perverted notion some people have -- they wouldn't have any doubt about what the right policy is and what was the right thing to do."

"It reinforced in me the certitude that the only way to prevail is to continue to step up and speak out, because we are all one. And you all continue to do that. That's why things are changing," Biden told the crowd. "Not because of Barack Obama or Joe Biden but because of you. It's powerful."

Biden said he is confident that the country "has moved and will continue to move far beyond the prejudice of the past and of today."