Joe Biden: My first act as President would be to advance LGBT protections

Former US Vice President Joe Biden addresses a Human Rights Campaign gala

Joe Biden has said that his first act if elected President would be seeking to outlaw discrimination against LGBT+ people.

The Democratic 2020 challenger and former vice president told a Human Rights Campaign gala on Saturday (June 1) that passing the Equality Act, an LGBT+ non-discrimination law, would be one of his top priorities.

Joe Biden says Passing Equality Act is crucial

Praising the bill’s passage through the House of Representatives, he added: “Now we need to elect a Democratic Senate that will pass it.

“I promise you, if I’m elected President, it will be the first thing I will ask to be done, because it will send a message not just at home but around the world.”

He added: “This is the civil rights issue of our time. If it fails, think about what else fails. It would have a profound effect on who we are as people.”

The Equality Act would extend existing discrimination laws drawn up for the 1964 Civil Rights Act to also cover discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The bill has passed through Democrat-controlled House of Representatives with a groundswell of support, but the Republican leadership in the Senate have so far refused to bring the bill to a vote.

Presidential candidate hits out at anti-LGBT Trump administration agenda

The Presidential hopeful also hit out at regressive anti-LGBT actions under the Trump White House.

He said: “Instead of using the power of the executive branch to ensure justice, safety and dignity for all, this White House is literally a bully pulpit.

“He’s callously extending his power over the most vulnerable, implementing discriminatory policies… and the current Vice President uses religious freedom as an excuse to license discrimination across broad areas, denying LGBTQ Americans their basic rights. It’s wrong and it is immoral what they’re doing.”

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