President Biden Calls for Federal LGBTQ Legislation in State of the UnionMarch 1, 2022 • 10:04 pm
WASHINGTON, DC — Today in his 2022 State of the Union address, President Biden called on members of Congress to urgently pass the Equality Act, federal LGBTQ nondiscrimination legislation that would update America’s civil rights laws to include full and explicit protections for LGBTQ people in nearly all areas of daily life.
Kasey Suffredini, CEO and national campaign director of Freedom for All Americans, released the following statement in response to the speech:
“With so many urgent domestic and international priorities to address, we are grateful to President Biden for being sure to highlight the inequalities that LGBTQ Americans continue to face here at home. Discrimination against LGBTQ people, especially those of us who are transgender, still takes place too often in too many parts of the country. Transgender youth are facing attacks in an unprecedented way, illustrating just how much misunderstanding there is about who we are. The Equality Act is common sense and widely supported legislation that would advance dignity and respect for all Americans. It’s time for U.S. Senators of both parties to enshrine our collective American values into law by working together to outlaw LGBTQ discrimination as soon as possible.”
A majority of states lack LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections on the state level, leaving more than half of the LGBTQ population in America vulnerable to discrimination. The Equality Act passed the U.S. House in a bipartisan victory just over a year ago and the legislation had its first-ever hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee shortly afterwards. Since the beginning of his presidential term, President Biden has been a leader on LGBTQ rights. On his first day in office, he directed all federal agencies to implement the decision in Bostock v. Clayton County issued by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2020. The 6-3 ruling found that LGBTQ people are protected against employment discrimination under existing civil rights laws that prohibit sex discrimination. Shortly afterwards, he overturned the ban on transgender service members in the military. Following these actions, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that the Office for Civil Rights would reverse federal policy that attempted to allow discrimination against LGBTQ people in health care; and the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced that it would administer and enforce the Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
An eight-year-old transgender child named Sunny Bryant and her family virtually attended tonight’s address as honored guests of Texas Representative Sylvia Garcia. Last week, following an opinion issued by Texas attorney general Ken Paxton, Texas governor Greg Abbott directed the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to investigate families caring for transgender youth, claiming that it constitutes “child abuse.” In addition, more anti-LGBTQ bills, especially bills targeting transgender youth, are currently pending in state legislatures across the country than ever before in recent years.
Freedom for All Americans is the bipartisan campaign to secure full nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people nationwide. Our work brings together Republicans and Democrats, businesses large and small, people of faith, and allies from all walks of life to make the case for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally.