While speaking at the Jewish American Heritage Month reception in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday evening, Vice President Joe Biden commended Jewish Americans for playing what he believes to be an influential role in the progression of same-sex marriage in the country over the past few years.
At the event, which was hosted by the Democratic National Committee, Biden pointed particularly to Jewish leaders in the entertainment business who, according to him, helped America become more accustomed to same-sex marriage through shows exploring homosexual relationships, such as NBC's "Will and Grace."
"It wasn't anything we legislatively did. It was 'Will and Grace,' it was the social media. Literally. That's what changed peoples' attitudes. That's why I was so certain that the vast majority of people would embrace and rapidly embrace [gay marriage]," Biden said during his 20-minute speech at Tuesday's event, which was held in the American Institute of Architects building.
"Think behind of all that, I bet you 85 percent of those changes, whether it's in Hollywood or social media, are a consequence of Jewish leaders in the industry. The influence is immense, the influence is immense. And, I might add, it is all to the good," Biden added.
Biden also focused Tuesday's speech on the importance of Jewish heritage in American history as relating to politics, women's rights, civil rights, and technology, among other areas.
He stressed that Jewish values are an essential part of American culture.
"You make up 11 percent of the seats in the United States Congress. You make up one-third of all Nobel laureates," he said.
"So many notions that are embraced by this nation that particularly emanate from over 5,000 years of Jewish history, tradition and culture: independence, individualism, fairness, decency, justice, charity. These are all as you say, as I learned early on as a Catholic being educated by my friends, this tzedakah."
Same-sex marriage in the U.S. has currently been legalized in 12 states as well as Washington, D.C., and both Biden and President Obama have actively spoken out in support of same-sex marriage legalization.
Although the vice president implied that same-sex marriage has become more accepted in America at Tuesday's event, the topic still remains one of contention and debate among many in the country, especially those of the evangelical community.
Evangelicals opposing same-sex marriage argue that Americans are choosing to ignore their religious sensibility in order to be culturally relevant.
Jim Daly, president and CEO of Focus on the Family, said in a previous interview with NPR that he is not overly concerned that the country's cultural momentum behind same-sex marriage is not moving in the direction of Scripture.
"I'm not overly concerned because I'm not going to stake my sensibility, my spiritual sensibility, in the culture. The culture has changed over the years and this is not new," Daly said in the interview.
"I think in the end, even if we go in the direction of allowing same-sex marriage, I think culture at some point will go, 'whoa, what have we done here.'"
Currently, the Supreme Court justices are deliberating on two cases involving the legalization of same-sex marriage. The first addresses the Defense of Marriage Act, while the second addresses California's Proposition 8.