Joe Biden just officiated a gay wedding. Yeah, that's a big deal.

Joe Biden, America's vice president (and occasionally embarrassing dad-figure) did something really cool this week.

He officiated his very first wedding, after obtaining a temporary certification to do so from a Washington, D.C., courthouse.


When you realize you're the illest. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

The happy couple? Brian Mosteller and Joe Mahshie, two White House staffers who wed in Biden's living room.


Mosteller is the director of Oval Office operations for the president, and Mahshie is a trip coordinator for first lady Michelle Obama.

Only the two men's families attended the ceremony.

Mosteller has been by President Obama's side since the early days of the administration and was in the room when the president first voiced his support for same-sex marriage.

Mosteller with the president in 2015. Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images.

Speaking to the Washington Post, Mosteller recalls being moved to tears by that moment:

“When I was young, I couldn’t fathom that I could ever have a partner, and now I was with the president of the United States and, together, we were talking this kind of partnership, and it was not only public but so very normal. How often does a boss talk about love? Now, how often does a boss contribute to our country’s blessing of your love?”

As you can see, the blessings didn't stop there.

It's hard to believe how far America has come in such a short time.

It was only four years ago that Joe Biden first voiced his support for same-sex marriage, and it's been just over a year since marriage equality became the law of the land.

We still have work to do, but we can always look back at these moments and be proud. We, as a nation, are growing and progressing. We're recognizing that what brings us together is stronger than what tears us apart.

In other words...




Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

Keep Reading Show less
Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less