‘Trans equality is the civil rights issue of our time’

Joe Biden delivered a sly broadside against Bernie Sanders after accepting support from an anti-trans comedian. (Alex Wong/Getty)

US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden attempted a sly jab at fellow contender Bernie Sanders by stressing the importance of trans rights.

This week, the Vermont senator faced backlash after touting an endorsement from comedian Joe Rogan, known for his rap sheet of anti-trans statements.

“Let’s be clear,” the former vice president said in a tweet Saturday, “transgender equality is the civil rights issue of our time.”

“There is no room for compromise when it comes to basic human rights.”

LGBT+ activists uneasy about Joe Biden’s trans support.

Coming at a heated time of the Democratic primaries with just weeks until the Iowa caucuses, the tweet was an implicit broadside against Sanders from Biden, who is running his third presidential bid.

With Biden’s support stalling, polls suggest, the tweet was received by many users as an attempt to capitalise on Sanders’ slip.

As a result, some LGBT+ activists cast doubt on the sincerity of the statement, given Biden’s track record of not always being in support of the community.

Joe Biden’s position in the Iowa polls is slipping.

Biden’s voting record has haunted him during the 2020 campaign. In his decades-long career as vice president and Delaware senator, Biden’s views on LGBT+ areas have changed.

Back in 1996, Biden voted in favor of the Defence of Marriage Act which defined marriage as between a male and female. 10 years later, he voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment.

But tides have changed since for the lawmaker, who came out in support of marriage equality before then president Barack Obama did.

Democratic candidates at the fourth debate
Democratic Candidates Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg at the Democratic Presidential Debate. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

Contenders are hitting the campaign trail in attempts to seize a sturdy lead in the volatile Iowa race. Sanders has secured 25 per cent of the vote, according to a New York Times poll, with Biden trailing a distant third behind Pete Buttigieg.

With Biden’s support stagnating, other runners are attempting to net the undecided voters, leading to bumps in the polls among Buttigieg’s base.

Voters are wrestling with who to side with, and, after a year of campaigning, who prevails in Iowa may make or break which candidate ultimate battles Republican president Donald Trump.


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