Joe Biden slams Ron DeSantis’ ‘cruel’ attacks on LGBTQ+ rights as ‘close to sinful’
US president Joe Biden has branded Republican attacks on LGBTQ+ rights and trans healthcare as “close to sinful”.
The Democrat president made the comments during an interview with The Daily Show‘s Kal Penn.
He specifically commented on the volume of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation being proposed and enacted in Florida.
“What’s going on in Florida is, as my mother would say, close to sinful,” Joe Biden said. “It’s just terrible what, they’re doing.”
The worrying wave of so-called “anti-woke” legislation has been spearheaded by Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who has enacted and advocated policy restricting LGBTQ+ rights.
Not only did the Republican governor sign a bill preventing so-called “woke” subjects being taught in schools in 2022, but he also endorsed a ruling to prepare for a state-wide ban on gender-affirming care for minors.
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Legislation drafted for the Department of Health is expected to come into effect by 16 March, according to a federal notice.
Joe Biden responded to the imminent legislation, saying that he couldn’t believe that fellow humans could do something so cruel.
The president said: “It’s not like a kid wakes up one morning and says, ‘You know, I decided I want to become a man or I want to become a woman or I want to change.’ I mean, what are they thinking about here? They are human beings. They love. They have feelings.
“They have inclinations that are… just to me, I don’t know, it’s cruel.”
The commander-in-chief suggested passing national legislation similar to the Respect for Marriage Act – which negated dormant homophobic bills – to counteract the negative effects of the new legislation.
“You mess with that, you’re breaking the law, and you’re going to be held accountable,” he warned.
Florida encapsulates the anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric in the US today
Almost 400 bills targeting LGBTQ+ rights have been proposed across the US since the beginning of 2023, easily surpassing last year’s total of 306, according to data collected from the American Civil Liberties Union, and reported by CNN.
Many of them attack trans freedoms, including gender-affirming care for trans youth and participation in sports.
Others attempt to completely ban public drag performances, some of which have successfully passed into law already.
After becoming the 46th governor of Florida in 2019, DeSantis almost immediately began a campaign against anything he has deemed “woke,” which is often anything that furthers the rights of marginalised people.
This includes vetoing almost $900,000 worth of funding for victims of the 2016 Pulse massacre, lodging complaints against drag queens, appointing anti-LGBTQ+ pundits to various school committee boards, and even rescinding rights for Disney.
Things only became worse after reports circulated that he would be running in the 2024 presidential election.
While he has not officially announced his campaign, various reports from media publications suggest he is set to do so.
During an interview on 6 March, the US government’s first generation Z congressman, Maxwell Frost, accused the governor of practising “fascism”.
He told CNN’s Jim Acosta: “This is what we’re up against in Florida right now. It’s hard to keep track of it because it seems like there’s a new victim, a new bill, every day.
“We have to call it for what it is, he is abusing his power and using the state to target political opponents and political enemies. There’s a word for that, and it’s fascism.”
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