U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin is the first openly LGBT person to serve in the Senate.
President Obama delivered a rousing farewell address to the Democratic National Convention Wednesday night, culminating in a surprise visit by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Clinton hugged the president and the two walked to both sides of the stage and waved to the raucous crowd without comment before leaving.
The grand exit capped a night of speeches by political heavyweights, including Obama, Vice President Joe Viden and VP nominee Tim Kaine, who formally accepted his nomination.
Introduction videosbefore both Biden’s and Obama’s entrances included video footage of their reactions to last year’s Supreme Court decision on marriage equality, bringing deafening cheers from the crowd. Kaine also included a nod to the LGBT community when talking about opportunity for all Americans, free from discrimination based on “who you love.”
Both Obama and Biden started their speeches praising their wives; the vice president laughing that he and Obama “married up,” and the president joking that Michelle “somehow hasn’t aged a day. The same can’t be said for me; my girls remind me all the time.”
Obama went on to review policy victories during his administration, including the Affordable Care Act and marriage equality, cautioning there is still “work to be done.”
Obama referenced ongoing racial tensions, poverty and violence, including the LGBT mass shooting in Orlando. However, he struck a note of positivity saying he’s seen success when Americans of all stripes, including those who are “gay or straight,” work together.
“We’re not done perfecting our union. We’re living up to our founding creed that all of us are created equal and all of us are free in the eyes of God,” he said. “That work involves a big choice this November.”
Biden’s speech had a few humorous turns, as the crowd echoed “not a clue” to his comment about Trump, and tearful moments as Biden spoke about his late son, whose wife was in the audience. But he focused mostly on outlining Trump’s lack of experience, especially on foreign policy, shouting in anger at times and pleading quietly for voters to aid in defeating him at others.
Biden painted Clinton as a friend to the middle class, saying she understands struggles everyday Americans face like college finances, health-care costs and caring for ailing parents.
Clinton, Biden said, is the candidate who embodies the virtues of the country.
“We lead not only by the example of our power but by the power of our example,” he said. “This is the history of the journey of America, and God willing, Hillary Clinton will write the next chapter in that journey.”
Several-dozen Broadway stars joined in song in tribute to lives lost to gun violence at Wednesday’s DNC.
Indina Menzel, Kristen Bell and Rosie Perez were among the singers who assembled on stage for “What the World Needs Now.” The performers passed the microphone down the line throughout the song, many hugging as they sang.
Many people in the crowd joined the song, which finished with a lengthy chant of “Love trumps hate.”
Christine Leinonen moved the crowd at the Democratic National Convention Wednesday to their feet, and many of them to tears.
Leinonen’s son, Christopher, was killed along with his boyfriend and 47 others last month in the mass shooting at an Orlando LGBT nightclub.
Christopher started a gay-straight alliance at his high school, for which he won an award. He was an avid Hillary Clinton supporter, his mother said.
Leinonen said the weapon her son’s killer used fired 30 rounds per minute.
“Where was common sense the day my son died?” she asked about the need for gun control. “I never want any of you to have to ask that about your child. That’s why I support Hillary Clinton.”
Gay filmmaker Lee Daniels, of Philadelphia, came before Leinonen, also calling for gun control, while Conn. Sen. Chris Murphy and the daughter of a victim of the Newtown mass shooting followed.
From the floor of the Democratic National Convention, with a roster of state and federal lawmakers, out Pennsylvania delegate Malcolm Kenyatta effused energy.
“It’s been amazing,” he said of his convention experience. “We’re having these conversations, talking about things that matter to Americans, to families, and why Hillary Clinton is going to be the one to get things done and not Donald Trump, who doesn’t seem to have a plan for anything.”
Kenyatta, a delegate for Clinton, was eager to hear tonight from the man Clinton is looking to succeed. President Barack Obama is scheduled to take the podium around 10 p.m.
“I’m looking for him to lay out what we all know: how hard it is to be president,” Kenyatta said. “I want to hear him talk about his experience and how he knows Hillary Clinton has the toughness, has the temperament, has the background to handle those really tough calls.”
California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom introduced his state Wednesday at the Democratic National Convention as “proudly pro-lesbian, pro-gay, pro-bisexual and pro-transgender.”
“At our best, we don’t tolerate our diversity, we celebrate our diversity,” he said.
Newsom spent much of the rest of his brief address hammering Mike Pence, the Republican nominee for vice president, calling him “the most anti-LGBT governor.”
In Indiana, Pence signed into law a religious freedom law that created space for people to discriminate against the LGBT community. As a Congressman, he also proposed diverting Ryan White Act funding, intended for HIV/AIDS services, to institutions that seek to change a person’s sexual behavior. The process is commonly called conversion therapy and has been widely discredited by health professionals.
“It was refreshing to see the first openly gay man speak at the Republican National Convention,” Newsom said. “But it doesn’t remove the stain of selecting Mike Pence as vice president.”
He called conversion therapy “emotional torture,” that tells young people they have to live a lie to survive.
Of Democrats, Newsom said, “We believe you can be whoever you are and whatever you want to be. That’s what makes America great.”
The Democratic National Convention stage was last graced by an openly HIV-positive individual in 2004 — a trend that was broken Wednesday night at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.