LGBT and equality rights advocate, Vice President Joe Biden, broke history yesterday by performing his first ever wedding ceremony, joining two White House aides in legal matrimony.
According to NBC News, Biden received a temporary certificate from the District of Columbia in order to perform the ceremony for White House staffers, Brian Mosteller and Joe Mahshie, who asked the vice president to officiate.
The ceremony took place on Monday at 4 p.m. at the Naval Observatory, the traditional residence for U.S. vice presidents. The ceremony was attended only by the grooms’ immediate families.
Vice President Biden posted a photograph of the ceremony to his Twitter page, saying:
‘Proud to marry Brian and Joe at my house. Couldn’t be happier, two longtime White House staffers, two great guys.’
At the time of this writing, Biden’s tweet has gotten over 100,000 “likes” and nearly 34,000 retweets, showing how beloved and appreciated the 73-year-old vice president has become during his seven and a half years in office.
Proud to marry Brian and Joe at my house. Couldn't be happier, two longtime White House staffers, two great guys. pic.twitter.com/0om1PT7bKh
— VP Biden (Archived) (@VP44) August 1, 2016
Mosteller is the director of Oval Office operations for President Obama, and in February he was featured in The Washington Post in an article that lauded the staff member for his ability to “read President Obama’s mind.” According to his LinkedIn profile, Mahshie is a trip coordinator for the First Lady, Michelle Obama.
It’s very likely that Mosteller was influential in changing the president and vice president’s official positions on the legality of same-sex marriage and the need for equality under the law. Mosteller told the Washington Post:
‘When I was young, I couldn’t fathom that I could ever have a partner, and now I was with the president of the United States, and together, we were talking this kind of partnership, and it was not only public but so very normal.’
The vice president’s wife, Dr. Jill Biden, retweeted the happy news and the heartwarming picture of her husband performing the ceremony, adding “Love is love!”
Love is love! —Jill https://t.co/xDrz2m9qf2
— Dr. Biden -Archived (@DrBiden44) August 2, 2016
David Lienemann, the official photographer for the vice president and the likely source of the photograph, also retweeted Biden’s message and added his own congratulations.
Congrats to Brian and Joe! https://t.co/OkRfaGFOo8
— David Lienemann (@dcclphoto) August 1, 2016
Biden has a unique history of “coming out” for LGBT rights and has usually been one step ahead of what most Americans perceive as a more “liberal” politician, Barack Obama. At first glance, Biden is an unlikely ally, but the vice president backed marriage equality in 2012 during President Obama’s campaign for reelection. Biden was an early supporter of same-sex marriage, and his public support pressured President Obama into stepping up and declaring his support for marriage equality as well.
This video from ABC News covers Biden’s announcement that he would back marriage equality. Biden said:
‘I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men marrying women are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties. Quite frankly, I don’t see much of a distinction.’
In January, Biden confronted leaders attending the annual World Economic Forum in Switzerland. Striking the table and starting to loose his composure, Biden said:
‘LGBT people face violence, harassment, unequal treatment, mistreatment by cops, denial of health care, isolation — always in the name of culture. I’ve had it up to here with culture. I really mean it. Culture never justifies rank, raw, discrimination or violation of human rights. There is no cultural justification. None. None. None.’
In October 2015, Biden advocated for the right for transgender people to serve openly in the military, something that even Defense Secretary Ash Carter admitted was an outdated prohibition. Biden said.
‘No longer is there any question transgender people are able to serve in the United States military.’
Then, joking, he referred to the Republican presidential candidates, many still running at the time:
‘There’s homophobes still left — most of them are running for president.’
Biden also spoke out for the repeal of the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy that restricted the rights of LGBT service members from being open about their sexual orientation. Although somewhat improved over the previous policy of nearly instantaneous discharge with no chance of appeal, the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy” still required lesbian and gay military members to hide their orientation to remain in service.
Vice President Biden discussed the repeal of the law in this 2010 interview with Larry King:
Joe Biden has certainly been one of the most endearing public allies for LGBT rights, and it’s clear to see how delighted he was to continue to forward the cause of love by performing this wedding ceremony for the newly married couple.
Best wishes for the happy couple!
Featured image via Getty Images