NEW YORK: Biden Celebrates At Freedom To Marry’s “Going Out Of Business” Gala

Via the New York Daily News:

Vice President Joe Biden led a raucous reception for marriage equality Thursday night at Cipriani Wall Street in lower Manhattan. The gala, celebrating the June 26 Supreme Court decision that made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states, was thrown by Freedom to Marry, an advocacy group that has fought for same-sex marriage since 2003. “This has been a heroic battle,” Biden told the crowd of elected officials, community leaders, advocates and celebrities. A spokesman described the event as “the biggest celebratory event honoring the freedom to marry nationwide” and “a ‘going out of business’ party” for the organization.

Evan Wolfson, the founder of Freedom to Marry, worked for Biden in the 1970s when Biden was a senator. The vice president has long been a supporter of gay rights and attributed his stance on the issue to his father. Biden recalled a moment when he was 17 and he and his father saw two men kissing. “He said ‘Joey, they love each other. It’s simple,’” he said, quoting his father. “That’s what it’s been about from the beginning. It’s never been that complicated for me.” But Biden also cautioned that although same-sex couples are eligible for federal marriage benefits nationwide, 32 states don’t have anti-discrimination employment laws protecting sexual orientation.

Biden departed the stage to a thunderous ovation and then spent a few minutes shaking hands and posing for photos. (I couldn’t get near him.) Musical entertainment followed with Hedwig Tony winner Lena Hall and pop star Carly Rae Jepson. It was quite the celebration but all were especially appreciative that Biden repeatedly stressed the work that still needs to be done. Related to that, I cornered Freedom To Marry leaders Evan Wolfson and Marc Solomon to ask what is next for them personally. Both said they didn’t know, but I suspect we’ll soon see them take roles in the still-forming battle for federal anti-discrimination protections.

RELATED: There was some buzz in the crowd that Biden might surprise us with a presidential announcement last night, but he made no mention of the 2016 election.

  • JT

    Well done, Joe! And how fortunate you are to have had a father like that. Everyone should be so lucky.

  • Todd20036

    Thanks Mr. Biden. You helped Obama evolve.

  • Dramphooey

    Biden is too classy to make an announcement here because then the night would’ve been about him rather than marriage equality.

  • bkmn

    That must have been quite the event. Thank you Mr. Biden and best wishes to Evan and Marc, who deserve one hell of a vacation.

  • gaymex

    “Joey, they love each other, it’s simple.”
    How different the world would be if all the haters realized that. I wish that my dad had been so enlightened.

  • Robincho

    What an astounding measure of grace Mr. Biden has brought to the office that a former occupant once compared to a “bucket of warm spit.” If I had buried a son as recently as he did, I don’t know that I’d have been able to speak in private, let alone in public. There cannot
    be enough thanks to this man, who got sent like a canary down into
    the coalmine of Obama’s evolving…

  • S1AMER

    Way back when, Joe Biden was critical in blocking Senate confirmation of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court. Reagan’s second choice was then confirmed. His name was Anthony Kennedy.

    For that, and so many things since, thank you, Joe Biden!

    • JoeMyGod

      Biden TOTALLY brought that up during his speech!

  • Corey

    It is great to see this movement “going out of business”. There are other causes for the progressive movement so I hope the energy get shifted to these efforts. NOM, FRC and many others should go out business soon as well.

    • GC

      Yes! Marriage is now protected across the United States — for anti-gay conservative Christian male-female couples as well as for the rest of us. Mission accomplished, NOM! 🙂

      (The courts will soon bring the few rogue holdouts into line.)

      Next step for other groups: continue working to protect families. Make sure people can’t be fired on Monday for getting married to the “wrong” sort of spouse on Saturday. Make sure people can get second-parent adoptions for their husbands’ and wives’ kids. Make sure kids desperately waiting for a forever home aren’t denied committed, loving parents.

    • lymis

      Gettting the freedom to marry is done. Keeping it in a meaningful way in the face of what’s shaping up to be a huge effort to carve out exceptions for anyone who doesn’t like it will keep legal organizations busy for quite a while yet.

  • mikeinrkfd

    Now if only NOM would follow suit and go out of business.

    • DaddyRay

      You don’t expect them to continue on because they actually believe in the cause do you, it has always been about the money. When the money drys up – they are gone.

    • BobSF_94117

      They’re magically sticking it out until an eventual bankruptcy sale…

  • Douglas

    “There is no difference between the parties” sayeth the self hating quislings. Contrast the support of POTUS and VPOTUS and other Democrats with Ted Cruz and Huckabee and the like and tell me again why you vote republican?

  • Jim

    Thanks Uncle Joe!

  • GreatLakeSailor

    What media Horse-Race Callers, Corporate NewsReaders and Very Serious (and perpetually wrong) Talking Heads call “A Biden Gaff” I always thought was just honest, Plain-Speak, and a refreshing difference to the cluster-fuck of parsed, poll-tested, mealy-mouthed, polished-until-there-are-no-sharp-edges-and-no-meaning, prepared statements that passes for US political discussions & statements.

    –Saudis (and others) did fund ISIS, all informed on the matter know it, Biden had the guts to say it out loud ( http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/10/05/vp-biden-apologizes-for-telling-truth-about-turkey-saudi-and-isis.html )
    –ACA, Biden to Obama, “This is a BIG FUCKIN’ DEAL,” and he was spot-on

    and of course he said what hadda be said about Marriage Equality.

    • Octavio

      Great points. Yup. He is plain spoken. And he does it without sounding like a down home hick. That’s an accomplishment it and of itself. We’ve been very lucky to have had Biden and Obama in office for the last 6.5 years. I’m looking forward to the next 1.5 they have in office.

  • cminca

    I love Joe.

  • Jeffrey

    A lot of class acts here. Imagine meeting your goal and then being able to close up shop with a feeling of true accomplishment and not needing to money beg for impossible things. Like NOM, who thinks they can Jesus their way out of a Supreme Court ruling. Or HRC, who now wants to fight to keep domestic partner benefits for people too lazy to get married.

    • GC

      Relevant: Unmarried Equality’s statement celebrating Obergefell v. Hodges (with a justified money beg at the end):

      Unmarried Equality joins in the celebration of the Supreme Court’s long overdue decision that marriage will now be a CHOICE for all! We also call on the U.S. to remember all of us are not married — single people and those in relationships who choose not to marry or cannot marry for a variety of reasons.

      The majority of adults in the U.S. are unmarried, a statistic unlikely to change as a result of today’s Court decision. An enormous amount of work remains to be done to ensure that unmarried people and their families, their relationships of financial and emotional dependence and interdependence, receive fair treatment under the law. To join our movement of single, partnered, and married people, LGBTQ and hetero­sexual, monogamous and polyamorous, parents and childfree, Like this page, and to receive email news, send a message to [email protected].

      Please celebrate this historic moment with us, and help us ensure the work for broader family diversity will continue, by donating at http://www.unmarried.org/donate/

  • Mike in Texas

    Wow … such an amazing event! Joe Biden is a treasure. I hope Wolfson and Solomon take a well deserved rest … but not for too long.

  • Edmund Allin

    I’m amazed! Joe Biden was 17 in 1959; his father (born 1915) would have been 44. Kudos to Biden’s father for being *way* ahead of his time.

  • Claude Jacques Bonhomme

    He has known adversity, and has grown better, not bitter.
    Thank you, Mr. Vice-President.