The Vice President of the United States Joe Biden has confessed to challenging a number of world leaders on LGBT rights.
Vice President Biden is one of the strongest, most outspoken supporters of LGBT rights in the Obama administration – even pushing his own President on equal marriage and discrimination protections in the past.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the Vice President opened up about his habit of challenging Presidents and Prime Ministers of homophobic countries.
He said: “I have had some run-ins with at least four heads of state already on this.”
Attacking the arguments that some ‘cultures’ doesn’t accept homosexuality, he said: “LGBT people face violence, harassment, unequal treatment, mistreatment by cops, denial of health care, isolation…always in the name of ‘culture’.
“I’ve had it up to here with ‘culture’. I really mean it.
“Culture never justifies rank, raw, discrimination or violation of human rights. There is no cultural justification. None. None. None.”
“How can countries still be hiding behind ‘This is our culture’? People used to be cannibals, that was part of the ‘culture’. People used ot do terrible things as part of the ‘culture’.
“The progress of humankind has been a steady progress towards acknowledging the basic fundamental rights of other people.”
A long-time supporter of LGBT rights, the VP has won acclaim during his time in the White House for his willingness to champion equality issues – even by stepping on the toes of President Obama
He famously forced the President’s hand on same-sex marriage in May 2012, by backing it while the President was still officially ‘evolving’ on the issue.
A book later claimed that “chaos erupted inside the West Wing” after news of Biden’s comments – and within days Obama had also come out in favour of same-sex marriage.
Lightning struck again when the VP backed an executive order banning anti-LGBT workplace discrimination in 2014, when the President had already rebuffed calls for executive action.
Mr Biden got his way on that occasion as well, with Obama reversing his position again and signing an order just two months later.
Speaking out about the incidents last summer – Biden said he “didn’t have a problem” getting in front of Obama.
The Westboro Baptist Chuch picketed Beau Biden’s funeral in June, lambasting Joe Biden’s unwavering support for LGBT equality.
However, Mr Biden told business leaders that it was up to them to secure real progress.
He said: “When it comes to LGBT rights in workplace, the world is looking to you. I know that sounds like hyperbole, sounds like an exaggeration. But they look to you.
“You have more impact than anything the federal government has done, or the Supreme Court of the United States has done, or that Barack Obama or Joe Biden have done lighting up the White House.
“You have more impact. You have more impact in countries around the world than we do on those social issues.”