Former Vice President and 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden surprised folks on Tuesday by visiting the historic Stonewall Inn in New York City.
NBC News reports that, following two fund-raisers, Biden strolled into the West Village bar and chatted up patrons while taking photos with supporters.
“This is where it started,” Biden told reporters. “The ultimate civil rights argument today is how can you be constitutionally able to marry and be able to be fired in three dozens states when you walk in? It’s wrong. Simply, simply wrong.”
“Imagine the courage it took 50 years ago to stand up and say ‘I’m gay,’ ‘I’m trans,’ ‘I’m lesbian,’” said Biden referencing those who took part in the 1969 uprising.
“When people had the courage to come out, stand up and speak, say who they were, all of a sudden people realized ‘Whoa, these people are just like me – ordinary, decent, honorable people,’” continued the former Vice President. “And the public is way ahead of the politicians on this – they’re way ahead on marriage, and they’re way ahead on the basic rights every American should have.”
Philadelphia Gay News founder Mark Segal, who participated in the 1969 Stonewall riots, was present during Biden’s visit.
“If you would have suggested something like this 50 years ago, the 18-year-old me would think you were an alien,” Segal told NBC News.
“His staff hearing that there was a Stonewall pioneer in the room brought us together,” Segal added.
Shaking Segal’s hands, Biden said, “Thank you for your service.”
Joe Biden and I meet in Stonewall pic.twitter.com/OgroxvFHCH
— Mark Segal (@PhilaGayNews) June 18, 2019
'BEER ON ME': Former VP and 2020 candidate Joe Biden made an "unplanned stop" at NYC's Stonewall Inn Tuesday where he chatted with patrons and treated everyone to a beer at the historic gay bar; this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. https://t.co/GhDJHrLStu pic.twitter.com/r7LFKurjj8
— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) June 18, 2019
NEW:scene from Stonewall today,where Biden bought a round of beers, wrote a note excusing a kid from class,took selfies–&was celebrated by some attendees as a progressive on LGBT issues,at a time when he is criticized by other Ds as too centrist https://t.co/tw53Y1OLMF
— Katie Glueck (@katieglueck) June 18, 2019
With this month marking the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which began the modern LGBTQ rights movement, the Stonewall Inn has garnered several visits by high profile folks like Madonna, Taylor Swift and now Biden.