Biden’s LGBTQ Record Draws Scrutiny at Iowa Presidential Forum

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s decades-long record on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues was scrutinized on Friday in Iowa at the first major forum focused on the topic during the 2020 Democratic presidential nominating contest.

Biden was questioned at the multi-candidate event on Friday night about his votes as a U.S. senator from Delaware on legislation that included the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that prohibited openly gay individuals from serving in the U.S. military and a law defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

When moderator Lyz Lenz, a columnist with the Cedar Rapids Gazette, one of the event’s sponsors, mentioned that Biden had called Republican Vice President Mike Pence – a religious conservative who as Indiana governor in 2014 signed a state law banning same-sex marriage – a “decent guy”, the audience booed.

“It’s just a matter of a way in which you usually speak – when we try to get things done – to talk about people,” Biden told Lenz.

The exchange between Lenz and Biden, the current front-runner to be the Democratic nominee to take on Republican President Donald Trump in November 2020, was the tensest of the night, when 10 of the 19 candidates vying for the nomination discussed LGBTQ issues, including Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who would be the first openly gay U.S. president.

Biden’s campaign declined to comment on the forum.

The former vice president backed “don’t ask, don’t tell” as part of a larger defense bill and later voted to remove it. Though Biden also voted for the Defense of Marriage Act, he had previously opposed denying same-sex couples benefits.

He backed same-sex marriage before former President Barack Obama, for whom he served. And shortly after his statement about Pence, Biden wrote on Twitter that there is “nothing decent about being anti-LGBTQ rights.”

Forum attendees Elle Boeding, Micah McCutchen and Emmett Cory, all 20-something students at the University of Northern Iowa who are involved with the LGBTQ-group UNI Proud, said, though, that the event made them further doubt whether Biden was the best representative for a party that has rapidly evolved on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning/queer issues.

Cory questioned Biden’s response that he “didn’t have to evolve” because he was an early supporter of gay rights.

“I think that he thinks he doesn’t need to, but he does, he can’t just ride (his political history) without having to get with the times,” Cory said.

Boeding was turned off by Biden at times interrupting Lenz, who tweeted that Biden “said to me dryly, ‘You’re a real sweetheart,'” as the two walked off stage.

“In this specific setting, interrupting a woman is a no go … I don’t know what it will take for him to connect the dots,” Boeding said.

McCutchen said: “Joe Biden had a bad night.”

Biden is set to attend additional campaign events in Iowa on Saturday, including a multi-candidate steak fry hosted by a county Democratic Party. His appearance at the LGBTQ forum came amid news reports that Trump repeatedly pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate Biden and Biden’s son.

(Reporting By Amanda Becker in Iowa and Trevor Hunnicutt in New York; Editing by Tom Hogue)

Responses

  1. ” including a multi-candidate steak fry hosted by a county Democratic Party.”
    So they can eat STEAK but we had better not eat “HAMBURGERS”……..does steak come from a more GREEN source than HAMBURGERS……..asking for a friend!

  2. sounds to me that that wasn’t a “Presidential Debate” as much as an “Anti-Biden” debate
    seem like the Dems have figured out that Biden, despite his inane front, is most likely to win Dems nomination AND is too much like Trump to win.

    -What they fail to recognize is that anyone pulling away from Biden is going into the “Conservatives MUST vote” camp so we don’t go down the flushed toilet known as woke

  3. Perhaps James and Screw can enlighten us on the Republican sponsored laws that promoted equal protection of gays and lesbians. They might want to include an explanation of the audience booing of the gay American soldier serving in Iraq and Santorum’s response to the soldier. I am referring to the September, 2011 FOX airing of the Republican presidential primary debate.

  4. >Screwtape<

    Barry's hanging with "G-D America Wright" was only for show – just like he chose to be Black for the sympathy vote. As a Muslim, he had no other business than to be seen, pander for votes for his future, abysmal political career and act like he knew what was happening. Probably made a few more points with Allah in those 20+ years.

    1. James,

      We can only speculate how much was for show, how much was to please Michelle, and how much he actually believed.

      Apparently, after 20+ years he had no objections to the messages Wright pushed. His affiliations with Islam might also have been for show. Consider his claim to quitting smoking, despite WH staff and his own cabinet members saying he chain-smoked when stressed.

      No one buys beach front property on an island if they believe the waters are rising, insurance scams aside. Yet here he invested millions on a Cape Cod estate. It also makes one suspect his statements about “how much money is enough”. At least he didn’t steal things on the way out like the Clintons.

  5. “I caucus Republican as they are least offensive or oppressive for me.” I Ching

    Wow, if what is left of the oppressive “Republican” party today doesn’t offend you, you are really confused.

  6. I’m saying a lot of people around that time made the exact decision to stay with churches that have said things that would be insanely controversial today. People still make that decision today. Church was a lot more integrated in the culture in the past. Even i needed to wait until i left for college. I still had (my mother insisted) to go to church during Christmas and other holidays when home but i was thankfully able to refuse communion on the excuse that i hadn’t had confession for sometime.

    Obama had denounced Rev Wright and his political record can hardly be considered homophobic. Thats good enough for me. If any Republican did the same, i would give the same pass. Most Republicans cannot do that though.

    The original point of mine, by the way, was that Obama was not Muslim.

    1. The records show that Obozo’s disclaimer of Wright came AFTER he became a political liablilty. The same thing can be said of his change in attitudes about same-sex marriage. But he was a politician and wanted to retain power.

      I’m more Libertarian/Anarchist/Mind Your Own Business and pay your own way or die myself, but I caucus Republican as they are least offensive or oppressive for me.

      You already have my views on religion. I believe (there’s that magic word) people should have the choice and freedom to believe what they want so long as they leave others the same choices and neither hurt them nor take their things. Religion can be an instrument for good and societal/cultural cohesion BUT it can also be very, very evil.

      If there were a Mind Your Own Damn Business or Prepare to Fight Party I’d vote that and believe I have the skills and arms to make a hell of an insurgent otherwise.

      1. “I caucus Republican as they are least offensive or oppressive for me.” I Ching

        Wow, if what is left of the oppressive “Republican” party today doesn’t offend you, you are really confused.

  7. Phoenix,

    Again you’re arguing that Obozo, as a “full-grown man”, made his choice to stick with a Wright.

    20+ years is more than enough time for any rational adult to make a choice. Would it be wrong to say that such decisions would be more about personal ethics than cultural change?

  8. Were Joe NOT pandering for votes, he’d say he voted with the culture and standards of the time. No one can or should apologize for history, but only be aware of it.

  9. Also, Screwtape – i am significantly younger than Obama and grew up with an only vaguely Christian upbringing as my parents were involved but not strict.

    It was far more acceptable for me to leave the church BECAUSE of the shift in culture around that time. It would have been a lot harder to leave ealier if I were older.

  10. Naturally, because he’s a Democrat, people will give him a pass.
    But in the past. Old Joe, has demonstrated many times, that his is a racist, a homophobe and worse.
    Too bad, that the MSM isn’t as critical of him, as any conservative.
    Since when did telling the truth, become radical?

    1. Can you provide us a plan with better protection of gays and lesbians in the military THAT would have passed the 103rd Congress? What is your definition of the mainstream media? Which of the outlets of MSM do you watch that affords you the knowledge to make such a claim? Great question though on when did truth become radical? My guess is it became “radical” when people stopped using their own critical thinking skills and accepted “conspiracies” are truths.

  11. I would like to ask anyone that has concerns with Biden’s vote on DADT, to provide a policy that would have given more protection to gays and lesbians in the military THAT WOULD HAVE PASSED THRU the 103rd Congress. It was 1993—not 2013.

  12. “The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.” quote of confused guy

    So much for an omnicient god that couldn’t foresee the invent of aeroplanes. I bet that confused her.

  13. Phoenix,

    I cannot think of a single religion, possibly Buddhism, which does not have “hateful”, by modern standards, doctrines. I’m saying this as a non-militant atheist, i.e. Believe what you want as long as it does not hurt others or take their stuff.

    It’s interesting that you single out Christianity alone, not Judaism, Native American religion, HInduism, or ISLAM for hateful practices and, MOST IMPORTANTLY practices. It betrays either a prejudice OR a limited knowledge.

    Can we agree that all religions are subject to interpretation, influence, and corruption by politics and culture? Things temporal. There will ALWAYS be charlatans, q.v. Al Sharpton, Jim Bakker, etc.

    You also make my point. YOU left your church because you disagreed with their doctrine. Obozo only disavowed his association with Rev. Wright and his church AFTER the good reverend’s teachings became publicly known. As late as 2018 Rev. Wright was STILL spreading the same messages, though he’s now instituted rules about filming and taping to protect himself.

    You have mentioned change and understanding. Those are good things, religion aside.

    1. I’m singling out Christianity because its relevant to the conversation. Notice i didn’t leave the Christianity and join another religion claiming its better. I’m not a fan of any organized religion. That being said, I’ve met a lot of lovely people from many religions so i try not to overly generalize.

      My point was culture in general was homophobic and racist so that Obama, or anyone, was supportive of that in the past is not a big deal if they have since changed their direction. To me, the past is forgivable if asked. Admit you were wrong, make adjustments, and I’m good.

      And there are still people who support churches who are against homosexuality or whatnot. Our VP comes to mind immediately. Whats your point? Obama was clearly supportive to LGBT in policy while he was in office so I’m not sure what you are saying… are you saying he is still homophobic? Are you like James who thinks he’s some hardcore Muslim who is secretly homophobic yet still pushing pro LBGT policy?

  14. Screwtape –

    Really? Christianity has often been used of as justification for homophobia and even racism. I left the church almost specifically because i was told I was going against God by having and supporting my gay friends. Though i do understand things have changed in many churches – now.

    As for racism – remember how interracial marriages were only made legal in 1967? Quoting a US judge , though i know he quoted someone else, on the justification for upholding those laws:

    “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”

    Let’s not pretend that was a minority viewpoint back then. Most older Christians have shady backgrounds when it comes to racism and homophobia. I’m not really blaming them – it was just unfortunate culture at the time.

  15. It’s amazing that no one has brought up
    1. Biden’s lack of military service (it’s been used as a false charge on so many others)
    2. The candidates, plural, went to a steak fry afterwards. Isn’t meat bad?

  16. Phoenix,

    Barry’s “religious” record is….interesting. His books admit to spending time in madrassas as a youth. There ARE photos. (he also admits to eating dog).

    His *ahem* Christian history was over 20 years with the anti-American, racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic Rev. Wright. It’s hard to rationalize those attitudes with Christian beliefs. One wonders WHY he remained so long with the reverend if he disagreed on any of those points. Did he agree with any of this or did Michelle make him do it?

    1. Really? Christianity has often been used of as justification for homophobia and even racism. I left the church almost specifically because i was told I was going against God by having and supporting my gay friends. Though i do understand things have changed in many churches – now.

      As for racism – remember how interracial marriages were only made legal in 1967? Quoting a US judge , though i know he quoted someone else, on the justification for upholding those laws:

      “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”

      Let’s not pretend that was a minority viewpoint back then. Most older Christians have shady backgrounds when it comes to racism and homophobia. I’m not really blaming them – it was just unfortunate culture at the time.

  17. Biden voted on the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” in ’94. It was appropriate for the times, his constituency, and his Joe Lunchbox image. Nowadays, using the Wayback Machine (powered by pure, non-CO2 producing retro-activity) it’s NOT ideologically pure.

    Unfortunately history is now weaponized by the politically-correct crowd.

  18. It’s strange how far off-topic from Biden’s encounter with the thought-police/Gaystapo this discussion has wandered. “Your entire life must be scrutinized for ideological purity! Show us your records!”

    …and to think I used to laugh at Bugs Bunny in drag.

  19. “Is there ANYONE who would even think Kenyan Barry” Confused James

    So, by YOUR example, do you want us to use his family’s real, original name, too? You know, Drumpf?

    Anything to hide your family’s history of being a brothel owner.

  20. “Basically, I’m saying he is out of touch with reality.” Phoenix

    Ah,OK. I didn’t get the connection.

    Otherwise, Saturday mornings have been known to confuse me.

  21. “And i know thats how you get this type of news… the only other place you’ll see major conspiracies like this is with those teenie boppers on Facebook.” Phoenix

    You are wrong about the teenie-boppers. They have no interest in Facebook. All of their friends use others services.

    You are also confused about where many conspiracies are generated. There is a well documented path for a lot of them. Many of them start in darker web sites such as 4chan or 8chan. Then weird sites, such as Breitbart or The Daily Caller, will pick over these sites for nonsense that they can legitimize. Then FOX News or a Ben Shapiro will latch on to the story and spread it to their braindead viewers making it all seem normal and legit, you might even say whitewashed. This is not something made up by me. You can see the fascinating research which documents how some of these stories develop.

    1. General – the teenie bopper comment was referencing a dumb comment James made awhile ago. Basically, I’m saying he is out of touch with reality.

      I’m not confused (at least in this topic), so you’re either slow on the uptick this Saturday morning or I’m being way too subtle. 🙂

  22. James – there are plenty of people born Muslim and live as Christian or no faith at all. His mother was Christian, he had a close relationship with his grand parents on his mother’s side who were Christian, and Obama Sr didn’t even live in the same country as Obama growing up. Obama is a practicing Christian.

    Hussein translated means handsome. It has nothing to do with his religion. Like most names, it does give insight into background of parents, but hardly 100% indicates religion. Dude, you need to stop reading email chains with conspiracy theories.

    And i know thats how you get this type of news… the only other place you’ll see major conspiracies like this is with those teenie boppers on Facebook.

  23. >Morte206<

    Yes, and I have serious doubts those were just rumors. Barry was reported to have been engaging in homosexual activities while in college; AND as a Muslim by birth, should have been killed for it.

  24. James – why bother reading the Quran? Obama is Christian and we can just read the Bible about men being killed for being with other men there instead.

    1. I’m reading your comment as sarcasm since you refer to “Obama” as a Christian. He was born to a Muslim father; given the middle name of “Hussein” which identifies him as a Muslim for life; and which he must remain as a Muslim or subject to being killed by any Muslim. It’s easy to become a Muslim; but impossible to get out.

  25. Is there ANYONE who would even think Kenyan Barry – an individual who is REQUIRED by his religion to remain a MUSLIM for LIFE – would be in favor of LGBTQ; or any form of a relationship involving same-sex individuals? IF so; read the Qur’an for a clarification.

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