Vice president Joe Biden began Independence Day celebrations in the nation’s birthplace, emphasizing the country's continued fight for equality.
During a rainy Friday morning in Philadelphia, Biden noted the importance of the Declaration of Independence in laying out the principles that led to desegregation throughout society.
He said he was reminded of two Philadelphias, one where the Declaration of Independence was signed 238 years ago and the other in Mississippi where civil rights workers were murdered in June 1964, two weeks before President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act.
Both places helped shape the words “all men are created equal” and gave “genuine life” to the promise made when the Declaration was signed in 1776, he said.
To that end, Biden said same-sex marriage was the next step in the “expansion of notion that all men are created equal.”
“You should be able to marry whomever you love,” he said.
“The landmark events we celebrate today make clear that the narrow-minded and reactionary forces of the past and the present will never prevail in America.”
The ceremony recognized the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act and the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision, Brown v. Board of Education, which ended school segregation.
“We have a lot more to do to fulfill the promise and meaning of the Declaration.”