Biden called ‘reliable friend’ to gay community

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Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s decision to pick Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) as his vice presidential running mate drew immediate praise from gay activists in Delaware, who called Biden a strong and reliable friend of the gay community.

After more than two months of deliberation over selecting a vice presidential nominee, Obama announced Biden’s selection shortly after 3 a.m. Saturday in text messages and e-mails sent to his campaign supporters.

Although Biden, 65, has not signed on as a co-sponsor for as many gay-related bills as activists would have liked, he has voted for gay-supportive legislation and against anti-gay measures nearly every time such legislation came before the Senate during his 35-year tenure as a senator, according to Delaware activists.

“You won’t see him taking the lead on gay issues, but whenever there is a vote, he’s always with us,” said Peter Schott, president of the Stonewall Democratic Club of Delaware, a gay rights group.

“He’s a great choice for vice president,” said Steve Elkins, executive director of Camp Rehoboth, a gay social and community service organization in Rehoboth Beach, a Delaware resort town with a large gay community.

“Biden has always been very supportive of everything we’ve done,” Elkins said.

Last year, after announcing his candidacy for president, Biden joined other Democratic presidential candidates, including Obama, in expressing support for an employment non-discrimination bill that includes both gays and transgender persons.

For the full story from the Washington Blade, go here.

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