Joe Biden – Credit: Christopher Dilts for Obama for America/flickr
Vice President Joe Biden (D) will deliver the keynote address at the 19th annual Human Rights Campaign National Dinner on Oct. 3, just hours after the organization is scheduled to hear from Democratic presidential contender Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Biden has a longstanding record of advancing LGBT rights. His announcement in favor of marriage equality in 2012 is often cited as the deciding factor that pushed President Obama to support same-sex marriage later that year. He has recently come out in favor of the Equality Act, which would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
“Vice President Biden has stood up for the rights of all Americans to live their lives free from discrimination and fear throughout his remarkable career, and he’s a true champion of LGBT equality,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement. “From his historic announcement in support of marriage equality to his ongoing commitment to achieving full federal equality for LGBT Americans, the Vice President has proven time and again that he’s a stalwart ally to our community, and we’re honored he’ll be joining us to deliver the keynote address at the HRC National Dinner.”
In addition to Biden, HRC has announced that seven-time Emmy Award winner Allison Janney will present HRC’s National Vanguard Award to fellow actress Ellen Page. Page, who came out publicly at HRC’s first annual Time to THRIVE conference, has been outspoken in her defense of LGBT rights. She recently confronted presidential candidate Ted Cruz about his lack of support for legal nondiscrimination protections.
“Ellen Page has been an inspiration for LGBT youth around the world,” Griffin said in a statement. “Her willingness to speak her truth for all to hear, and to confront injustice against LGBT people, has made her a role model and there is no one more deserving of HRC’s National Vanguard award. And it’s only fitting that the award will be presented by such a strong ally to our cause as Allison Janney.”
Retired NBA athlete Jason Collins, the first openly gay male professional basketball player, and transgender activist Blossom Brown — most known for her appearances in HRC’s “All God’s Children” campaign as well as on I am Cait and The Ellen DeGeneres Show — will also address the sold-out dinner. As reported on Thursday, the event will feature live music performances from Carly Rae Jepsen, A Great Big World and Futuristic.
“Jason Collins changed the world of sports for the better when he came out, and Blossom Brown has helped lift the voices of the transgender community by showing true courage in sharing her story,” Griffin added.
The 19th Annual HRC National Dinner will be held on Saturday, Oct. 3 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mt. Vernon Pl. NW. For more information, visit hrcnationaldinner.org.