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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 28 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 13
Pass ENDA now, Biden says
Section One
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Pass ENDA now, Biden says

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Vice President Joe Biden brought down the house at a March 22 HRC Gala with a speech advocating for ENDA (the Employment Non-Discrimination Act) and insisting that 'LGBT rights are an integral part of U.S. foreign policy.'

Biden spoke for 28 minutes to an audience of 1000 HRC supporters in Los Angeles.

'My grandkids, my children, and their kids are going to be shocked, it shocks the conscience that this very moment in American history, in some states, an employer can fire you just because of who you are, or who you love,' the Vice President said.

'It's close to barbaric. I mean think about this, a man, no I really mean this. Imagine, imagine, 20 years from now, as America looks back and says how in the hell could that have ever been allowed? The country's moved on. The American people have moved on, it's time for the Congress to move on, and pass ENDA. Pass ENDA now. Not tomorrow, now!'

ENDA would add protections for sexual orientation and gender identity to federal civil rights laws that protect employees from discrimination in the workplace. The Senate passed the measure last year, but Republican Speaker John Boehner has so far refused to bring it up in the House.

Biden also said that the U.S. government considers defending LGBT rights a basic part of its foreign policy.

'Hate cannot be a cultural norm,' Biden insisted, in response to some world leaders who have asserted that Western powers want to impose Gay culture on their unwilling people. Biden's speech came after Russia, Uganda, and Nigeria passed strict new anti-Gay legislation.

'The single most basic of all human rights is the right to decide who you love,' Biden added.

The HRC hailed Biden's remarks in a statement released the next day.

'Vice President Biden's inspiring remarks in support of global LGBT equality represent the latest step from a White House that has made fairness and dignity for LGBT people one of its top priorities,' said HRC President Chad Griffin.

'Vice President Biden made it clear that he will not be silent as LGBT people around the world are denied their human rights. As we celebrate new victories for equality here at home, we cannot look the other way as the governments of Russia, Nigeria, and Uganda put their LGBT citizens in the crosshairs. HRC is proud to stand with the Vice President because every person deserves their basic human rights, and no one should face execution, imprisonment or violence because of who they are or who they love.'

To see and hear Vice President Biden's complete speech, Google: 'Joe Biden HRC Dinner.'

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