Just days after facing off against his Republican vice presidential rival, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Senator Joe Biden will be the featured speaker at a gay rights gathering.

While Biden used part of his time during the first and only vice presidential debate Thursday to defend gay rights, he failed to endorse marriage for gay couples.

When debate moderator and PBS anchor Gwen Ifill asked the candidates if they supported granting benefits to gay couples, Biden answered that he believed gay couples deserve equal rights under the law.

“Absolutely, positively. Look, in an Obama-Biden administration there will be absolutely no distinction from a constitutional standpoint or a legal standpoint between a same sex and a heterosexual couple. The fact of the matter is that under the constitution we should be granted – same sex couples should be able to have visitation right in the hospital, joint ownership of property, life insurance policies, etc. That's only fair; it's what the constitution calls for. And so we do support, we do support, making sure that committed couples in a same sex marriage are guaranteed the same constitutional benefits as it relates to their property rights, their right to visitation, their rights to insurance, their rights to ownership, as heterosexual couples do,” Biden answered.

Sarah Palin answered that she was “tolerant” of gays and lesbians and does not support gay marriage.

More than 3,000 people are expected to attend the Human Rights Campaign's (HRC) Twelfth Annual National Dinner in Washington D.C. on October 4th.

Saturday's program of political speakers, entertainment by Jennifer Holliday and Crystal Waters, and an award presentation to openly gay personal finance expert Suze Orman will benefit HRC, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy group.

“I'm honored to participate in this event,” Biden said in a statement. “Discrimination has no place in this country and I am proud to stand with HRC in the fight to end it. Barack Obama and I will bring the change we need in Washington. The Bush administration's policies have been disastrous for the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] community and a McCain administration would just mean four more years of the same.”

Biden, who has mostly supported gay and lesbian rights in his nearly thirty-six years as Senator, has received praise from the gay rights group in the past.

“Senator Biden's record in the United States Senate is one of support and understanding that has been unwavering throughout his career. In this critical election year, his outspoken advocacy for the LGBT community is invaluable,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese.