Biden Blunders at LGBTQ Town Hall: 'When I Came Out'

Susan Jones | October 11, 2019 | 6:01am EDT
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Democratic presidential hopeful former Vice President Joe Biden participates in a town hall devoted to LGBTQ issues hosted by CNN and the Human rights Campaign Foundation in Los Angeles on October 10, 2019. (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

( - Former Vice President Joe Biden prompted laughter at a town hall on LGBTQ equality Thursday night, when he talked about "when I came out."

Biden was making the point that we have to "educate people" about LGBTQ discrimination. "Because, for example, when I came out and -- when I came out!  When I publicly stated--" Biden started to correct himself.

"That would be news," gay moderator Anderson Cooper joked.

"I got something to tell you," Biden joked in return.

"OK. Don't jump, folks. You're way up there," Biden said to audience members in the balcony.

Then Biden turned serious again, ending his remarks by rejecting the notion that homosexuality is "all about around-the-clock sex."

"Come on, man," Biden said. "Gay couples are more likely to stay together longer than heterosexual couples."

Biden told the town hall that in May 2012, when he jumped ahead of President Obama in endorsing gay marriage, he made a bet that "well over half" of the American public already supported gay marriage:

That week, a poll was taken, the first one I'd seen, showing that -- I think it was 57 percent of all Americans supported gay marriage. The generic point I'm making here is, folks, the vast majority of people in America are not homophobic. They're just afraid. They don't understand. They don't know. They don't know what to do or say.

Let me give you one closing example. Let's say that -- I see my guest I'm supposed to be -- and, by the way, a guy who knows more about this than everybody, Pete is about to come up here and talk about it, because -- by the way, imagine.

I mean, I -- when I sit and think about it, what about my sons, my daughter, my granddaughters, my grandson? What happens if they are at age 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, and they know there's something different about themselves and they have to come out? What do they say if they're not going to be accepted? What happens?

Think about Los Angeles here. If you had a business lunch eight, ten years ago, and there were six or seven people at the lunch, and a gay waiter came up and said something that identified himself being gay, in fact, if one of the people made fun of that waiter, the vast majority of people wouldn't have said anything at the table. Today you'd all look at him and say, if you're straight as can be, look at him and say, what the hell is the matter with you? And he'd never be invited back.

The point is, they're not afraid now to stand up and say -- because guess what? We learn. Our brothers, our sisters, our -- the girl we went out with in high school, the guy you know -- no, I'm serious. Think about it. The idea it's normal. It's normalized. It's not anything strange. It's not strange. That's the generic point.

And the more people know that, the more they understand it -- remember, Anderson, back 15, 20 years ago, we talked about this in -- in San Francisco was all about, well, you know, gay -- gay bath houses. And everybody -- it's all about around-the-clock sex. It's all -- come on, man. Gay couples are more likely to say together longer than heterosexual couples.

Anderson Cooper ended Biden's portion of the town hall at that point: "We're going to leave it there, Mr. Vice President."


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