US Vice President cancels speech at LGBT event due to government shutdown

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US Vice President Joe Biden has cancelled a planned gala appearance with gay rights group the Human Rights Campaign, his office announced today.

Mr Biden had originally been scheduled to deliver the keynote address at the group’s annual dinner on 5 October, which is to be attended by around 3,400 guests.

“Unfortunately, because of the government shutdown, the Vice President is not going to be able to attend Saturday evening’s Human Rights Campaign National Dinner,” Mr Biden’s office said in a statement.

The US Government was forced to close all non-essential operations on Tuesday, after Congress failed to strike a deal to pass a new budget.

The shutdown has left more than 700,000 employees on unpaid leave, and resulted in the closure of national parks, tourist sites, government websites and offices.

Joe Biden is a strong proponent of gay rights: In 2012, he briefly became the most high-profile politician in the US to support for same-sex marriage, saying that he was “absolutely comfortable” with gay couples marrying. His comments came just days before President Obama announced his own support for the policy.