- ‘To meet Joe Biden is to love him.’
Oscar-winner Dustin Lance Black is endorsing Joe Biden as his choice to take on Donald Trump in the elections on 3 November.
The American screenwriter, director, film and television producer, and LGBT+ activist is the latest celebrity to support Biden.
He believes former Vice President Biden is America’s best chance to pass the vital Equality Act in the next four years.
And he recalls seeing Biden’s leadership when he made up his mind to support marriage equality.
‘He came out for marriage equality in front of us’
In an interview with The Advocate Black recalls the moment in the spring of 2012.
Black was attending a campaign event at the home of gay entertainment executive Michael Lombardo. At the time, President Barack Obama and his VP Biden were seeing a second term.
And Chad Griffin was also in the room. Like Black, Griffin was involved in the court fight against California’s Proposition 8, the anti-marriage equality measure. So, unsurprisingly, Griffin asked Biden if he supported same-sex marriage equality.
According to Black, Biden thought for a full minute before answering. And Black believes the VP was doing a lot of soul-searching. But the answer was yes.
In particular, Black was impressed he backed equality before Obama himself had come out for same-sex marriage.
Black tells The Advocate: ‘It’s never a good idea politically to get ahead of your boss. [But Biden] came out for marriage equality in that room in front of us. He knew it was the right thing to do.’
Just a few days later, Biden came out publicly for same-sex marriage. And shortly afterwards, Obama also backed marriage equality.
‘I want to see the Equality Act passed’
Until recently, Black has been supporting former Mayor Pete Buttigieg in the presidential race. But Buttigieg dropped out last week, just ahead of Super Tuesday, and backed Biden.
However, Black insists he is a ‘political geek’ and isn’t just following Buttigieg.
And he knows Biden hasn’t always been the LGBT+ ally he is today.
As a US senator, Biden voted for the Defense of Marriage Act, a measure to block same-sex marriage, in 1996. Moreover in 1993 he supported the US military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy which went on to plague lesbian, gay and bi service personnel.
But while Black admits Biden hasn’t always been ‘perfect’, he sees him as someone who listens and changes.
Moreover, he thinks Biden is a coalition builder. And he believes it will take those skills to pass the Equality Act through the US Senate and into law.
The wide-ranging LGBT+ rights measure has got through the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives but is stalled by the Republican majority in the US Senate.
Black tells Advocate: ‘I want to see the Equality Act passed in the next four years.’
And he adds he gets on with Biden personally. Black concludes: ‘To meet Joe Biden is to love him.’
Biden vs Sanders
And Black also addresses Biden’s main rival for the Democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders. He says Sanders is a ‘good man’ with ‘big ideas’ but believes Biden has better strategy.
Black adds: ‘I’m all for big dreams and big ideas. I know there’s another candidate in this race who has big ideas. But Biden has the ability to create the alliances that are necessary.’
Last week was a major turning point for Biden’s campaign with unexpected success on Super Tuesday.
Biden is now ahead with 664 delegates and 35% of the popular vote.
Meanwhile Sanders is still a very credible candidate with 573 pledged delegates and almost 29% of the popular vote. However, Tulsi Gabbard is a distant third with only two delegates and less than 1% of the popular vote.
This week, Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota and Washington state will all be making their choice between the candidates.
Another Trump win would be ‘devastating’
We can expect to hear a lot more from Black over the next eight months about the vital 2020 elections.
As well as being an Oscar-winning screenwriter, Black is also famously married to British gay Olympic diver Tom Daley. He’ll be supporting his husband in the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
But he indicates he then intends to work hard for any Democratic presidential nominee.
Black says: ‘We want to be able to come back home and have a White House that’s sane again.
‘Donald Trump has a really good chance of winning another four years. That will be devastating for most minority communities. It will certainly be devastating for the LGBTQ community.’
However, that is not his only project. Black is most famous for the film Milk, about LGBT+ rights hero Harvey Milk.
And now he is turning his attention to gay, African-American civil rights hero Bayard Rustin. He is working on a feature film for Netflix about Rustin. And his producing partner is Obama, through the former president’s Higher Ground production company.