Biden backs transgender military service as US weighs policy

Although he’s not officially a candidate, Vice President Joe Biden gave a campaign-style speech to an encouraging crowd at the Human Rights Campaign National Dinner, but remained mum on his intentions – at least for now.

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The Obama administration is in the middle of deliberating whether to officially end the ban on transgenders serving openly in the military and has largely held off making any major pronouncements, despite supporting a Pentagon review examining the issue, The Associated Press reports.

Speaking to a room of almost 4,000 supporters of the nation’s largest LGBT rights group, Vice President Joe Biden was a person focused on the challenges of the future – not merely celebrating the successes of the past.

Vice President Biden said Saturday night that he supported the Equality Act, legislation that would add explicit protections for gays and lesbians to existing civil rights laws, and said action should also be taken to protect gay and lesbian immigrants.

Clinton spoke to the group earlier today, before jetting to New York City for an appearance tonight on Saturday Night Live.

“Some of you credited me with taking a political risk and thought I was doing something special”.

Biden’s declaration at the Human Rights Campaign’s annual dinner Saturday goes further than anything the Obama administration has said before, evoking memories of when Biden outpaced President Barack Obama in endorsing gay marriage.

“There are still those people in the national political arena who want to undo what’s already been done”, Biden told the enthusiastic crowd.

Two of those people said he is leaning toward entering the race.

The vice president’s close-knit circle of advisors sees the yearning in the electorate for a candidate of authenticity and blunt talk, and believes Biden represents that and more, turning what in the past has been seen as a negative into a decided positive.

Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in theSupreme Court case that legalized gay marriage in all 50 states, has supported Clinton since 2008 and said he appreciated her acknowledgment that she had evolved, like so many others.

Clinton said Saturday that the court’s decision could be overturned, should a Republican win the White House next year and appoint conservative justices.

“The one way to change this overnight, would be to infuse in every mind in America that there are still 31 states that can deny you employment, and housing, etc…”

“I’m really here to say thank you for your hard work and your courage and for insisting that right is right“, she said.

“If any one of them, heaven forbid, were ever to be elected president, they will do their best to enact policies that will threaten you and your families”, said Clinton.

Clinton also used her time to mock her Republican rivals.

A Florida man has been arrested after authorities say he slashed two Long Island police officers as they tried to arrest him.

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Carson’s spokesperson Doug Watts shot back attacking Clinton for her own slow embrace of gay marriage.

Vice President Joe Biden speaks during Human Rights Campaign National Dinner at Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington Saturday Oct. 3 2015