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...




Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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Even as millions of Americans celebrated the inauguration of President Joe Biden this week, the nation also mourned the fact that, for the first time in modern history, the United States did not have a peaceful transition of power.

With the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, when pro-Trump insurrectionists attempted to stop the constitutional process of counting electoral votes and where terrorists threatened to kill lawmakers and the vice president for not keeping Trump in power, our long and proud tradition was broken. And although presidential power was ultimately transferred without incident on January 20, the presence of 20,000 National Guard troops around the Capitol reminded us of the threat that still lingers.

First Lady Jill Biden showed up today with cookies in hand for a group of National Guard troops at the Capitol to thank them for keeping her family safe. The homemade chocolate chip cookies were a small token of appreciation, but one that came from the heart of a mother whose son had served as well.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.