Vice President Joe Biden: Equal marriage is the civil rights issue of our day

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Joe Biden has declared that equal marriage is the “civil rights issue of our day”, while giving a speech marking Independence Day.

The US Vice President was speaking in Philadelphia, where the Declaration of Independence was first adopted, and where same-sex marriages began in May.

He said: “We have a lot more to do to fulfill the promise and the meaning of the Declarlation.

“But the landmark events we celebrate today make it clear that the narrow-minded and reactionary forces of the past and the present will never prevail in America.

“The civil rights issue of our day [is] making it clear that you should be able to marry whoever you love – period.

“Ladies and gentlemen, ultimately that’s what we’re celebrating today – the continuation of the expansion of the notion that all men are created equal.

“There’s been a constant march in America on the road to guaranteeing every man, woman and child the dignity that you’re entitled to. That’s what these men who said in this building behind me fully understood.”

Biden is a strong advocate of LGBT rights, backing same-sex marriage before President Obama had done so, and conceding there is “no downside” to an Executive Order banning homophobic discrimination while the President was still officially opposed to signing one.

Recently Obama has placed sanctions on Ugandan officials over the country’s anti-gay laws, announced he will sign an executive order banning discrimination against employees, and granted new benefits to same-sex couples in the US, including those who live in states where gay marriage is illegal.