• Politics

Joe Biden to Speak to Gay Rights Group Next Weekend

3 minute read

Vice President Joe Biden is getting a star turn next week at a gala dinner with the nation’s largest gay rights organization.

The news, announced Friday, comes as Biden considers seeking his Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2016. The move is the latest sign that Biden may want to boost his national profile and put him in a cavernous ballroom with roughly 3,000 gay and lesbian donors—and their allies.

“Vice President Biden has stood up for the rights of all Americans to live their lives free from discrimination and fear throughout his remarkable career, and he’s a true champion of LGBT equality,” Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said in a statement.

The Human Rights Campaign is hosting a potential Biden rival earlier in the day on Oct. 3: Hillary Clinton. The former Secretary of State and First Lady will address the Human Rights Campaign board members, advisers and staffers during a morning session. That audience is expected to be around 800 people.

Clinton remains her party’s favorite to win the White House nomination. But Biden has watched her polling numbers shrink in recent months as she has been dogged by questions about her use of personal emails as the nation’s top diplomat, as well as general uneasiness about a second member of the Clinton clan as President.

Biden has signaled he is interested in a White House run, and he has never stopped picturing himself as President since his failed 1988 campaign for the job. He tried again in 2008, but instead became Barack Obama’s running mate.

Biden was ready to accept he would not win the top job, aides say. But then his ailing son, Beau Biden, asked him to consider a third campaign for the White House. Biden refused to promise his son, but asked his aides to explore it.

Beau Biden, the Attorney General of Delaware, died of brain cancer in May of this year. The man he called “pop,” the sitting Vice President went deep into mourning while his aides and advisers weighed whether the 72-year-old figure should pursue the nomination.

Biden hasn’t yet reached a decision, and none is expected in the next few days. Biden spent the first part of the week preparing for Pope Francis’ visit to Washington. He has Chinese President Xi Jinping on his schedule on Friday. Biden then heads to New York next week for meetings at the United Nations. Political watchers are keeping close eyes on Biden for clues for his next moves. His scheduled stop at the Human Rights Campaign is only going to suggest he’s lining up the powerful—and generous—block of reliably Democratic voters.

At the Human Rights Campaign dinner next weekend, Biden will be joined by former NBA player Jason Collins, the first openly gay athlete to play in any of the four major North American professional sports leagues. Blossom Brown, a transgender woman from Mississippi whose story featured prominently on Caitlyn Jenner’s reality show, is set to speak, too. Entertainers A Great Big World and Futuristic are scheduled to take the stage, as is Carly Rae Jepsen of “Call Me Maybe” fame.

More Must-Reads From TIME

Write to Philip Elliott at philip.elliott@time.com