Biden at Iowa fundraiser: Marriage equality is ‘the civil rights of our day’

INDIANOLA, Iowa — Vice-President Joe Biden, speaking at a high profile fundraiser in Iowa on Sunday, took the opportunity to trumpet his own accomplishments, including his support for same-sex marriage that many credit was the catalyst that helped President Barack Obama to finally “evolve” on the issue.

Charlie Neibergall, AP
Vice President Joe Biden speaks during Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin’s annual fundraising steak fry dinner, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013, in Indianola, Iowa.

Looking more like a future presidential candidate, Biden described himself as a bold speaker of truths on LGBT rights, and said Sunday that “a lot of people criticized me for speaking out, not long ago, about gay marriage.”

“I could not remain silent any longer,” he said. “It’s the civil rights of our day. It’s the issue of our day.”

Biden made the remarks at U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin’s annual fundraising steak fry dinner in Indianola, Iowa, on Sunday.

Biden famously came out in favor of marriage equality in a 2012 interview on NBC’s “Meet The Press”, in which he said, “I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual men marrying women are entitled to the same exact rights. All the civil rights, all the civil liberties. And quite frankly I don’t see much of a distinction beyond that.”

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With Hillary Clinton and Biden as the most prominent Democrats being discussed for their party’s 2016 nomination, Obama said in a broadcast interview that he suspects both politicians would say it was “way too premature” to focus on the race.

Asked about Biden’s visit, the president told ABC’s “This Week” that “Iowa’s a big state and (Biden is) an old friend of Tom Harkin’s.” The two were Senate colleagues.

Biden advisers insist the address was not an early version of a 2016 stump speech.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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