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Tipsheet

Biden: Listen, Pal, My Gay Marriage 'Epiphany' was in the 1960s

Screenshot via YouTube

He's told versions of this story before, and it's an odd one. Maybe it's true, or partially true. Or maybe it's one of the many tall tales Joe has totally fabricated or drastically embellished over the years -- often seemingly designed to inject a dramatic personal angle to a story, in order to ingratiate himself to an audience for political purposes.  Here he is being questioned by a gay actor on an entertainment channel the other day, and he's evidently eager to boast about his early enlightenment about same-sex marriage, far ahead of the societal curve.  His 'epiphany' on gay rights, he claimed, happened in the early 1960s:

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Let's think about this.  Biden is asking us to believe that circa 1960-61 (a very traditional era, years before racial equality was broadly achieved in the country) two men were kissing in public right outside a high school, in full view of teenagers and their parents.  According to this story, Biden -- a high school athlete at the time -- witnessed this, turned to his devout Catholic father, who was born in 1915, and his dad basically told him, 'love is love, Joey.'  Again, it's possible that this is a real memory of something that actually happened.  Count me as deeply, profoundly skeptical.  Illinois didn't become the first state to decriminalize homosexuality until 1962, the following year.  But these "well dressed men" were kissing in public, outside of a high school, the year prior?  As someone might say: C'mon, man.  Despite my doubts, I cannot conclusively prove that this is a false story, so let's take it at face value, for the sake of argument.  Biden says he had his 'a-ha' moment on gay rights and same-sex marriage as a 17 or 18 year old, thanks to a transgressive public display of affection and some astoundingly progressive wisdom from his father.  If that's the case, he proceeded to consistently vote against his allegedly long-held views for decades, throughout the majority of his public career:

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Here's the roll call on DOMA in the mid-90's.  Here's the 2006 Meet the Press clip, stating a position that Biden reaffirmed two years later.  According to his timeline, Biden did and said all of this, despite harboring support for same-sex marriage since his teens?  "So he’s basically admitting he lied about a moral conviction for the next five decades? How heroic," quips Jonah Goldberg, who also thinks it's preposterous that Biden was contemplating gay marriage more than 50 years ago.  Of course, the notion of Biden totally abandoning moral convictions for political gain is hardly unfathomable; he's done exactly that on abortion, embracing a radical position he'd long rejected because activists and donors demanded it.  Total abortion extremism is the price of admission in national Democratic politics these days, and Biden is absolutely not above violating his allegedly long-held and deeply-felt beliefs, in exchange for power.  

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Which do you find more plausible: Biden's 1961 'epiphany' story, or Biden inventing a 1961 'epiphany' story to suit his current political needs, aligning with the current values of his tribe?  I know where I'd put my money.  Biden could genuinely claim credit for being one of the first major national figures to shift on same-sex marriage, reportedly surprising President Obama by announcing his support in 2012, the year in which the Democrats stampeded in that direction.  But reality isn't exciting enough for Biden, so we instead get implausible stories about his unique foresight.  It's worth noting that Obama had also played games on this issue, twisting and turning as the political winds blew.  Understandable, perhaps, because that's what politicians do.  But not exactly the profile in courage he'd like us to applaud, replete with a Bidenesque false origin story that doesn't comport with his own record.  Incidentally, do you know who voiced public support for same-sex unions eight years before Biden did?  This guy. Finally, Biden describes state-level efforts to curb medically- and scientifically-disputed gender transition steps for minors as "almost sinful."  Has he read this?

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