Vice President Joe Biden: World should follow Ireland’s progress on same-sex marriage
The Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, has praised Ireland for passing same-sex marriage – and called other parts of the world to catch up.
The Republic of Ireland became the first country in the world to pass same-sex marriage by a popular vote last week, when it approved the measure in a referendum by 62.1% to 37.9%.
Mr Biden, who has been one of the strongest voices for equality in the Obama administration, praised the country’s commitment to equality in an op-ed for the Advocate.
He wrote: “In 22 years, Ireland has gone from a nation where simply being LGBT was against the law to a nation where the people resoundingly stand for equal rights.
He continued: “There is still work to be done. There are still too many nations that deny people even the right to be safe from violence and severe discrimination, and too many states here in America that allow a person to be fired simply for being lesbian, gay, transgender, or bisexual.
“As advocates in Ireland, in the United States, and around the world have proven time and again, where there’s passion and commitment, there is opportunity.
“I continue to believe that in every corner of the world, people want to do the right thing. You should never underestimate the epiphanies that follow when a culture makes a breakthrough of conscience.
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“But it takes leadership. It takes courageous individuals who are willing to step forward, to turn adversity into positive change, and to truly live the words of the great Irish poet William Butler Yeats: ‘Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot, but make it hot by striking’.”
A number of countries – including Germany, Italy, Australia and Northern Ireland – are facing renewed pressure to bring forward same-sex marriage proposals following the landslide in Ireland.
In the US, the Supreme Court is expected to rule next month in a case that could bring equality to all 50 states.
The gaffe-prone Vice President famously forced Barack Obama’s hand on same-sex marriage – by backing it himself in May 2012, while Obama was still officially ‘evolving’ on the issue.
A book last year claimed that “chaos erupted inside the West Wing” after news of Biden’s interviews – and within days Obama had also come out in favour of same-sex marriage.
Biden raised eyebrows earlier this year – when he gave a shout out to an “old butt buddy” during a speech.
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