(CNN) – Russia’s “gay propaganda” law that makes it illegal to tell children about gay rights is linked to the nation’s takeover of Ukraine’s Crimea, Vice President Joe Biden said Saturday night.
Speaking at a gala in Los Angeles for the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, Biden suggested countries that don’t respect the rights of gays, lesbians and transgender people also disregard borders.
“As the great Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov said, ‘A country that does not respect the rights of its citizens will not respect the rights of its neighbors,’ and we're seeing that today, we're seeing that today in Ukraine,” the vice president said.
Biden, who infamously declared his support for same-sex marriage on national television before President Barack Obama, used his remarks at the annual event to call on Congress to pass a measure banning workplace discrimination against gays and lesbians. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) has passed the Senate but doesn’t appear to have traction in the U.S. House.
Some Democrats have called on Obama to sign an executive order that would ban discrimination against gays and lesbians by federal contractors as the legislation stalls on Capitol Hill.
On Saturday, Biden said the absence of workplace protections for gays and lesbians was downright cruel.
“My grandkids, my children, and their kids and going to be shocked – it shocks the conscience – that an employer can fire you just because of who you are or who you love. It’s close to barbaric,” he said.
“Imagine 20 years from now, as American look back and say, ‘How the hell could that have ever been allowed?’ The country’s moved on. The American people have moved on. It’s time for Congress to move on, and pass ENDA.”