Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden served as speakers at a “gay gala” on Saturday sponsored by the nation’s largest homosexual activist group, co-founded by a man who has spent the past year fighting child rape charges.
“It’s great to be back with the other HRC,” Clinton quipped as she addressed the hundreds gathered for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) event in Washington. “There’s no one I’d rather share my initials with than all of you.”
“I see the injustices and the dangers that you and your families still face,” she said. “I’m running for president to stand up for the fundamental rights of LGBT Americans.”
In 2004, while serving as a U.S. Senator, Clinton told Congress that she opposed same-sex nuptials.
“[T]he fundamental bedrock principle that [marriage] exists between a man and a woman, going back into the midst of history as one of the founding, foundational institutions of history and humanity and civilization, and that its primary, principal role during those millennia has been the raising and socializing of children for the society into which they are to become adults.”
She also supported her husband in signing the Defense of Marriage Act in the 1990’s. It was not until 2013 that she began to speak publicly in favor of “gay marriage.”
Clinton spoke earlier in the day on Saturday, turning down the headliner position to accept an appearance on Saturday Night Live. Biden therefore delivered the keynote speech as a replacement, taking jabs at the Republican presidential nominees.
“There’s homophobes still left—most of them are running for president,” Biden, a Roman Catholic, stated.
“The great arc of justice is the journey of this nation, and it continues to move in the right direction,” he said, remarking during his speech that homsexuals left the U.S Supreme Court “no choice.” “We’re moving closer and closer to the animating spirit of America because of all of you, not me, because of all of you.”
Biden expressed his support for the federal Equality Act, which would amend the Civil Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act to prohibit employers from firing workers because of their homosexuality and ban landlords from turning down homosexuals who wish to live with their partners.
“It may not pass this Congress, [but] it will pass because it’s simple and it’s straightforward,” he said.
White House chief technology officer Megan Smith, White House social secretary Deesha Dyer, Air Force general counsel Gordon Tanner and Army Secretary-designate Eric Fanning were also among those in attendance.
One of the co-founders of HRC, Terrance Bean, 66, has spent the past year dealing with criminal charges of two counts of third-degree sodomy, a felony, and one count of third-degree sex abuse, a misdemeanor. The charges stemmed from an investigation that involves an alleged sexual encounter with a 15-year-old boy.
The charges against Bean were dropped after prosecution stated that the now 17-year-old boy was unwilling to testify.
Human Rights Campaign, which Bean co-founded in 1980 with Steve Endean, is said to be the largest homosexual advocacy group in the nation, having over 1.5 million supporters. He also founded the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, and has been one of the largest Democratic donors in Oregon, especially surrounding financial contributions made to Barack Obama’s election efforts, which are stated to be in excess of $1 million dollars.