"When it comes to LGBT rights in workplace, the world is looking to you. I know that sounds like hyperbole, sounds like an exaggeration. But they look to you." - V.P. Joe Biden
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Vice President Joe Biden is at the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, where 2,500 business people, politicians, and heads of state from 100 different countries are discussing ways in which the world economy can be improved and how business can best aid society.
Biden, who many in the LGBT community credit with hastening the "evolution" of President Barack Obama on LGBT rights by his unauthorized announcement of support for marriage equality, told a group of American businessmen, including bigwigs from Coca Cola, Google and Microsoft, that they are the best messenger when it comes to LGBT equality.
"When it comes to LGBT rights in workplace, the world is looking to you," said V.P. Biden. "I know that sounds like hyperbole, sounds like an exaggeration. But they look to you.
"You have more impact than anything the federal government has done, or the Supreme Court of the United States has done, or that Barack Obama or Joe Biden have done lighting up the White House. You have more impact. You have more impact in countries around the world than we do on those social issues.
"Collectively you can change the terms of the debate and shift public opinion."
Vice President Biden told the gathering that he and President Obama continue to raise the matter of LGBT rights with political leaders from around the world, revealing he has "had some run-ins with at least four heads of state already on this."
V.P. Biden dismissed out of hand people who excuse LGBT discrimination as being "part of their culture."
"People used to be cannibals as part of their culture," Biden pointed out. "People used to do terrible things as part of their culture."
Jon Miller, a member of the Open For Business business coalition which was founded to combat so-called "religious freedom" laws, raved about the vice president's speech.
"Biden is saying the debate has changed, and he’s right," Miller told reporters. "He not just talking about culture and morals here, now we’re talking about business and economics – and what better place to put that case than Davos."
Here's the vice president, in his own words:
Photo is a screenshot from YouTube