Vice President Joe Biden may be mulling over a potential presidential campaign, but he is starting to sound a lot like a candidate.
Biden’s speech on Thursday at Freedom to Marry’s New York gala had all the hallmarks of a stump speech: praise for advocates, personal reflection, and a call to action.
Speaking at a celebration for the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling, Biden lauded gay rights activists, promising to fight for equal protection laws for gay Americans, and not-so-subtly referenced his own role in helping gay marriage become legal.
“It is an incredible job that you’ve all done,” Biden said.
At various points in the speech, Biden reflected on his own history supporting gay rights, noting his role in helping appoint Justice Anthony Kennedy — who cast the deciding vote in the gay marriage ruling — and talking about his experience learning to support gay rights as a teen.
“This has been a heroic battle. But it’s been based on this very simple proposition best expressed to me by my dad as a 17-year-old kid,” Biden said.
The Vice President recalled a time when he and his father witnessed two men kissing.
“I turned and looked at my dad, and I’ll never forget what he said. ‘Joey, they love each other, it’s simple,'” Biden recalled.
Biden also didn’t miss a chance to tout his famous interview on Meet the Press where he endorsed same sex marriage, reportedly frustrating Obama’s team who had also planned on announcing the President’s support for gay marriage.
Biden’s speech also focused heavily on the fight to grant equal protection to individuals based on their sexuality.
Though he did not mention policy details, the Vice President said that the Obama administration will push to expand equal protection laws for gay Americans in the states that do not explicitly bar discrimination against sexuality.
“There are still 32 states where marriage can be recognised in the morning and you can be fired in the afternoon,” Biden said.
“I want you to know that this next door will be a hell of a lot easier to open,” Biden said.
Biden also touched on grander, slightly bizarre unifying themes. At various points, the Vice President thanked that the vocal gay community for helping many straight people feel more comfortable about supporting gay rights.
“[Homophobia] also intimidated millions of straight people who didn’t have a homophobic bone in their body,” Biden said.
“They are free as well,” Biden said.
The Vice President was careful not to steal too much of the spotlight for himself, spending most of the speech praising the strides that the marriage equality movement achieved.
“You don’t owe me or [Valarie Jarret] or the President any thanks,” Biden said. “We owe you. It’s hard for me to imagine the sense of accomplishment you must feel.”
Many longtime friends of the Vice President and diehard supporters are pushing Biden to get into the race.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Vice President’s family has pushed him to enter the 2016 race, though aides have said that predictions about a run are premature.
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