People at a Seattle presidential campaign fundraiser for Joe Biden on Saturday pushed back against his comments on the progress of gay rights.
During his remarks, Biden said five years ago people at a business meeting in the city would have let someone making "fun of a gay waiter" get away with it, prompting people to shout, "Not in Seattle!" per a pool report of the event.
While Biden reportedly said a person saying homophobic comments "would not be invited back" today, his comments triggered online criticism at the end of a challenging week for the former vice president.
Matt Hill, a spokesperson for Biden's campaign, defended his comments at the fundraiser hosted by a leader in the Seattle gay rights community.
"The LGBTQ community has made significant progress, but @JoeBiden is making the point that there is much more work to be done," Hill tweeted. "Suggesting the LGBTQ community didn't face discrimination five years ago or even today is just not accurate."
The Democratic primary front-runner also recalled publicly supporting same-sex marriage in 2012 before former President Barack Obama, CNN reported, and commented on his recent visit to the site of the Stonewall riots.
"Think of the incredible, physical, moral courage it took to stand up and fight back," Biden said at the fundraiser.
Critics previously described Biden as "out of step" for his comments at fundraisers, including when he reflected on the "civility" in his work with segregationist senators earlier in his career.
On the debate stage Thursday, Sen. Kamala Harris of California also called out Biden for his opposition to busing to integrate schools in the 1970s, something she experienced as a child growing up in California.
"I don't praise racists, that is not true," Biden responded. "If you want to have this campaign on who supported civil rights and whether I did or not, I am happy to do that. I left a good law firm to become a public defender when in fact my city was in flames because of the assassination of Dr. King."
Support for Biden has dropped by about 10 points among likely Democratic voters following the first debate, according to a poll by Morning Consult and FiveThirtyEight.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Not in Seattle!' Joe Biden catches flak for 'gay waiter' comment at campaign fundraiser