Former vice president and current 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden stunned patrons of an iconic gay bar in West Village on Tuesday afternoon, as he strolled in after his second fundraiser of the day in New York City.
Guess who stopped by @StonewallInnNYC today for an unannounced visit? @JoeBiden. 50 years after police raided the gay bar and patrons rioted, the leading 2020 Democratic presidential candidate pays a visit. pic.twitter.com/kqRih0SdM0— Grace Rauh (@gracerauh) June 18, 2019
The jaw-dropping visit amazed many, as Mark Segal, the founder of Philadelphia Gay News and LGBTQ activist who was present at the 1969 Stonewall uprising responded:
“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 in an email.
“His staff hearing that there was a Stonewall pioneer in the room brought us together,” Segal added.
According to Segal, the two men shook hands and Biden said, “Thank you for your service.”
Another activist, Chauncey Dandrige, was also caught unawares:
“Just handed two Stonewall t-shirts to Joe Biden for him and his wife! Just another day at the office,” Dandrige wrote on Twitter.
Just handed two Stonewall tshirts to Joe Biden for him and his wife! :)— The House Of Dandridge ❌ (@DJChaunceyD) June 18, 2019
Just another day at the office... — at The Stonewall Inn https://t.co/Pz4jeKeaXx
Social media users reactions to Biden's visit were, as usual, mixed.
I would be more impressed and dumbfounded if Pence was there, as usual another marginalized community only good for votes— NYCHomelessGUY39 (@formerhomeles39) June 19, 2019
Maybe he’s there because of his upcoming election...🤷🏽♀️— M Lowe Ok (@MLoweOK) June 19, 2019
He’s over 70, he had 50 years to drop by. This is exploitive.— ÁNGELO MARTÍNEZ (@angelomartinez) June 19, 2019
fuck this. #StonewallWasARiot, not a campaign stop.— Tommie Sunshine 😎✊️🌹 (@tommiesunshine) June 19, 2019
Joe Biden, ex-vice president and current front-runner for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, expressed early support for same-sex marriage, speaking out on behalf of LGBT rights back in 2012, when he was asked on NBC's Meet the Press about the evolution of his views on marriage equality.
At the time he responded:
“I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual men and women marrying one another 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 — beyond that,” he added.
What makes his remarks especially notable is that at the time, same-sex couples could marry in only six states and Washington, D.C., and then-President Barack Obama refused to publicly support marriage equality.
The Stonewall riots, also called the Stonewall uprising, were a series of violent confrontations that began in the early hours of 28 June 1969 between police and gay rights activists outside the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City. As they progressed, an international gay rights movement was born.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin, the country's first openly gay senator, insisted that “everyone who cares about moving equality forward in our country should visit" the Stonewall Inn, recognised as a National Monument under the Obama administration.