President tells Indian American actor how young peopleâ€™s advocacy can help policy on climate, drilling and human rights
President Joe Biden offered Indian American actor Kal Penn some matter-of-fact advice on marrying his longtime fiancÃ©: â€œDo it now. Donâ€™t wait.â€
The presidential advice came during an interview by Penn, best known for starring in the â€œHarold & Kumarâ€ movies, for an episode of â€œThe Daily Showâ€ that aired on March 13.
Read: Kal Penn to host PEN America Literary Awards (February 13, 2023)
Penn came out in 2021, revealing that he was engaged to his partner of 11 years, Josh, who he said he fell in love with while working in the Barack Obama administration.
In December, Biden codified same-sex and interracial marriage into law by signing the Respect for Marriage Act. Penn asked the president how he came to support marriage equality.
Biden recalled having an â€œepiphanyâ€ one day while he was a senior in high school, when he saw two men kissing on their way to work. â€œAnd Iâ€™ll never forget, I turned and looked to my Dad. He said, â€˜Joey, itâ€™s simple. They love each other,â€™â€ Biden said. â€œItâ€™s just that simple.â€
â€œIt doesnâ€™t matter whether its same-sex or a heterosexual couple, they should be able to be married,â€ he later added. â€œWhat is the problem? So listen to your auntie and your uncle and get married. Do it now. Donâ€™t wait.â€
Penn and Josh have been engaged for five years, and not much has been revealed publicly about Josh, including his last name.
Read: Kal Penn presented with 2022 Justice in Action awardÂ (March 15, 2022)
Penn joked during the interview that â€œevery auntie and uncle that I have is beyond disappointed that there hasnâ€™t been a wedding yet.â€
In 2021, he said heâ€™s pushing for a â€œbig ass Indian wedding.â€
â€œObviously I am engaged to a man and our families will be there for the wedding,â€ he said at the time. â€œThe big disagreement now is whether itâ€™s a huge wedding or a tiny wedding.â€
Penn then asked the President what â€œthe federal government might be able to do to protect LGBTQ Americans, especially trans kids, who are dealing with all of these regressive state laws that are popping up.â€
Describing the anti-trans legislation as â€œjust cruel,â€ Biden focused on the latest developments in Florida. â€œWhatâ€™s going on in Florida is, as my mother would say, close to sinful. I mean, itâ€™s just terrible what theyâ€™re doing,â€ he said referring to regressive measures introduced by Governor Ron DeSantis restricting the rights of transgender people.
Biden also spoke about a divided country and how young peopleâ€™s advocacy can help policy on climate, drilling and human rights. â€œThat generation is between 18 and 35 now. Theyâ€™re the ones who created the space,â€ he said. â€œThey had enough of it. They had enough of it.â€
Biden also told Penn that heâ€™d never thought of running for the White House, but the 2017 incident where a group of white supremacists rallied in Charlottesville, Virginia, prompted him. He did it for three reasons. â€œTo restore the soul of the country, to begin to take care of the middle class, and to unite the country.â€