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LGBTQ civil rights groups endorse Biden, citing 'state of emergency' created by GOP

‘The leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration is needed now more than ever,’ Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson said.

By Oliver Willis - October 11, 2023
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President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris walk to the Rose Garden on May 25, 2023 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris walk to the Rose Garden on May 25, 2023 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

Three groups that advocate for LGBTQ+ rights on Tuesday endorsed the reelection of President Joe Biden. The groups cited Biden’s support for LGBTQ+ rights in his administration’s policies and contrasted them to ongoing attacks on the LGBTQ+ community and its rights by the Republican Party.

Human Rights Campaign PAC, Equality PAC, and the National Center for Transgender Equality Action Fund released the announcement on the day before National Coming Out Day, which is on Oct. 11. The groups said in a joint statement that actions by the Biden-Harris administration in support of LGBTQ+ rights were laudable as legislation and rhetoric targeting LGBTQ+ people coming from Republicans has continued to increase.

“LGBTQ+ Americans are living in a state of emergency and the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration is needed now more than ever,” Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson said in the statement. “In their first term, President Biden and Vice President Harris have worked closely with HRC and other advocates to secure historic, landmark victories for LGBTQ+ Americans — and we proudly endorse them and look forward to continuing that work together.”

Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, executive director of the NCTE Action Fund, described the Biden administration as “the strongest advocate for the needs of transgender Americans of any presidential administration in American history.”

The groups said that along with their endorsements, they plan to heavily invest in political organizing in support of the Democratic ticket.

Human Rights Campaign PAC said it would directly engage with voters in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, all battleground states that Biden won in the 2020 election. The NCTE Action Fund and Equality PAC said they would both run media campaigns promoting Biden’s candidacy.

In recent years, Republican-led state legislatures have been working to pass legislation restricting LGBTQ+ rights, with a focus on transgender children.

According to the Trans Legislation Tracker, there have been 83 such laws passed in 2023, with 574 bills proposed in 49 states this year so far. Included in those new laws are a ban on transgender participation in school sports in Alabama; an Arkansas law prohibiting the use of preferred pronouns in schools; a law in Florida prohibiting transgender usage of bathrooms based on gender identity; and a Louisiana law prohibiting gender-affirming medical care for children.

There are also 35 bills proposed by Republicans in Congress that would enshrine restrictions on LGBTQ+ rights in federal law. None of the bills have become law.

Leading Republican presidential candidates have expressed their opposition to LGBTQ+ rights and affiliated themselves with groups pushing for restrictions.

Former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy spoke at the Moms for Liberty national conference in Philadelphia in July. The Southern Poverty Law Center classifies Moms for Liberty as a hate group, citing their opposition to school curricula that support LGBTQ+ inclusivity and their support for banning books with LGBTQ+ content.

Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence have called for bans on gender-affirming care for minors provided by medical professionals. DeSantis signed a law in Florida that restricted such care.

When he was in office, Trump banned transgender military service. DeSantis signed legislation in Florida, which has been called the “Don’t Say Gay” law, that prevents educators in public schools from referencing same-sex relationships.

The conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court voted 6-3 in the case of 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, ruling in favor of a web designer who refused work related to same-sex weddings.

Three of the justices who ruled in favor of the designer were appointed by Trump: Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. The other three were also appointed by Republican presidents: George W. Bush appointed Justices Samuel Alito and John Roberts, and George H.W. Bush appointed Justice Clarence Thomas.

The three justices who ruled in favor of LGBTQ+ rights were appointed by Democratic presidents: Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson (Biden), and Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor (appointed by former President Barack Obama).

Biden has repeatedly expressed his support for LGBTQ+ rights and equality during his time in the presidency.

Biden reversed Trump’s ban on transgender military service in 2021, during his first week in office. In 2022 he signed the Respect for Marriage Act, which requires the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages as valid.

The Biden administration has criticized state laws restricting the rights of transgender children.

Following the passage of the “Don’t Say Gay” law in Florida in February 2022, Biden tweeted: “I want every member of the LGBTQI+ community — especially the kids who will be impacted by this hateful bill — to know that you are loved and accepted just as you are. I have your back, and my Administration will continue to fight for the protections and safety you deserve.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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