Biden Pushes for ENDA, Blasts Human Rights Abuses
At a Human Rights Campaign Gala this weekend in Los Angeles, Vice President Joe Biden delivered a powerful speech to 1,000 guests, putting the world on blast for human rights abuses by focusing on the floundering Employment Non-Discrimination Act and international gay rights.
"I traveled to most countries in the world, and I can tell you, they’re looking to us as an example, as a champion of LGBT rights everywhere," Biden said during his 30-minute speech, as reported by Towleroad.
Biden noted that being gay is still illegal in 80 countries as he laid out the challenges faced by LGBT people overseas. He decried Jamaica’s practice of "corrective rape" for lesbians, and was critical of the anti-gay law in Nigeria that makes entering into same-sex marriage or supporting LGBT rights punishable with time in prison.
The vice president also criticized Russia, which has recently been condemned by the United States by military incursion into Ukraine, over its law banning pro-gay propaganda to minors.
"By the way, as the great Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov said, ’A country that does not respect the rights of its citizens will not respect the rights of its neighbors,’ and we’re seeing that today in Ukraine," Biden said.
At a West Wing dinner earlier this week, Biden told LGBT activists that the one thing that united us all was our willingness to fight for the rights of others, despite the personal risks.
"The single most basic of all human rights is the right to decide who you love," Biden said. "It’s the single basic building block; it’s the single most important human rights. And hate can never, never be defended because it’s a so-called cultural norm. I’ve had it up to here with cultural norms."
He urged Congress to pass ENDA, telling Buzzfeed that the ability for employers to discrimination against gays was "close to barbaric."
"It’s almost beyond belief that today, in 2014, I can say to you as your employee in so many states, ’You’re fired because of who you love,’" Biden said. "Think about that. It is bizarre. No, no, no. It really is. I don’t think most Americans even know that employers can do that."