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Biden Makes Commotion With 'Gay Waiter' Comment

He tells supporters homophobic remarks would have been tolerated 5 years ago
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 1, 2019 1:14 AM CDT
Updated Jul 1, 2019 6:50 AM CDT
Joe Biden speaks during the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Art, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami.   (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
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(Newser) – An awkward moment for Joe Biden: At a Seattle fundraiser on Saturday, the 2020 hopeful, speaking about how far gay rights have come in America, suggested that it would have been acceptable just five years ago for somebody at a business lunch to make fun of a gay waiter, the Seattle Times reports. "Not in Seattle!" shouted people at the fundraiser, which was held at the home of gay rights activist Roger Nyhus. The Times describes the reaction from the 150 people present as "polite pushback," though Fox says they were "irked." Biden went on to say that somebody making homophobic remarks "would not be invited back" today. He spoke of his support for gay rights during the Obama administration and recalled telling White House advisers that "the American people are so far ahead of their leaders on this issue."

Biden campaign spokesman Matt Hill defended the remarks after the candidate was heavily criticized online, USA Today reports. "The LGBTQ community has made significant progress," he tweeted, but Biden "is making the point that there is much more work to be done. Suggesting the LGBTQ community didn't face discrimination five years ago or even today is just not accurate." After pledging his support for gay rights, Biden spent much of the rest of his speech attacking President Trump, drawing shouts of "Go, Joe!" from the audience. He accused Trump of dividing the country like no other president and said his remarks that there were "fine people on both sides" at a white nationalist protest in Charlottesville, Va., "ripped the moral fabric" of the country. (Read more Joe Biden stories.)

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