Earlier tonight, Vice President Joe Biden posted a tweet and an accompanying photo that is sure to send some right-wingers up the walls. The photo and tweet show that Joe Biden officiated a wedding at his house between two White House staffers. In characteristic Joey B fashion, he even refers to them as "two great guys," proving that even when being incredibly progressive, he still is America's earnest old uncle Joe.
Biden has long been an advocate for LGBT rights: in May 2012, he announced his support for gay marriage ahead of that November's presidential elections, and later that year also called transgender discrimination "the civil rights issue of our time." After the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage last summer, Biden said the ruling was "as consequential" as the Brown v. Board of Education ruling that desegregated schools in the '50s. He apparently took that statement to heart by choosing to marry staffers Brian Mosteller and Joe Mahshie at 4 p.m. on Monday according to a statement sent to BuzzFeed.
According to his statement, this was Biden's first time officiating a wedding, and he got temporarily certified specifically for Mosteller and Mahshie's wedding.
Biden was never outspoken about LGBT rights until 2012, and stuck with President Barack Obama's "lukewarm" stance on marriage equality until April of that year, when he was seen in attendance at a gathering of prominent gay Democrats, which was hosted by a married gay couple and their kids. A staffer from the Human Rights Campaign asked him what his personal views about gay marriage were, and Biden, who was visibly uncomfortable, made a statement that ended up changing (and foretelling) history:
I look at those two beautiful kids. I wish everybody could see this. All you got to do is look in the eyes of those kids. And no one can wonder, no one can wonder whether or not they are cared for and nurtured and loved and reinforced. And folks, what's happening is, everybody is beginning to see it. Things are changing so rapidly, it's going to become a political liability in the near term for an individual to say, "I oppose gay marriage." Mark my words.
Less than a month later, Biden released a statement publicly supporting marriage equality, and three days after the vice president's statement, Obama released a statement saying the same thing. It was Biden's cautious, prophetic statements about same-sex marriage that turned the tide in the White House, and some believe his greatest legacy is that he acted as Obama's "conscience" on LGBT rights.
During his time as vice president, Biden has evolved from a knee-slapping uncle type who once audibly cursed into a microphone to the executive branch's strongest advocate for LGBT rights. His advocacy has taken him from politicking on TV to marrying a gay couple in his home, and his insightful remarks about the way gay marriage is viewed might have predicated the Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage. He's still good old Joey B, but he's using that earnestness for a great cause.