Former Vice President Joe Biden recently unveiled a plan to advance LGBTQ+ issues “in America and around the world.” The plan says, “Donald Trump and Mike Pence have given hate against LGBTQ+ individuals safe harbor.”
Biden’s 17 page proposal points to numerous initiatives from the Trump administration to protect religious freedom. His plan says that these “broad exemptions” for religious freedom are used to “discriminate against” LGBT-identified individuals. Biden says that “religious freedom is a fundamental American value,” but he would end this “misuse” of religious liberty.
Biden says he “will make enactment of the Equality Act during his first 100 days as President a top legislative priority.” He wants to give students access to sports, bathrooms, and locker rooms based on their chosen “gender identity.” His plan will ensure that “transgender or non-binary” individuals “have the option of changing their gender marker to ‘M,’ ‘F,’ or ‘X’ on government identifications.”
Biden currently leads Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democrat primary race, but Sanders has pledged similar support for LGBT issues including backing for the “Equality Act.” Sanders website offers less detail than Biden’s agenda.
The “Equality Act,” H.R. 5, has passed the House but is currently stalled in the Senate. It would add “sexual orientation and gender identity” to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act, the Government Employee Rights Act of 1991, the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 and other federal nondiscrimination regulations.
Biden’s plan and Sanders’ shorter agenda have practical implications for almost every area of life, including government agencies, federal regulations and funding; education and youth; insurance and health care; the military and gun control; privacy and safety for women and children – and more.
Here’s just a sample of what they want to achieve (except where indicated, quotes are from Biden’s proposal, but Sanders’ ideology is basically identical).
- Federal and judicial appointments: Biden “will nominate and appoint federal officials and judges who represent the diversity of the American people, including LGBTQ+ people” and he “will ensure that leaders across the federal agencies are committed to fully enforcing our civil rights laws for LGBTQ+ individuals.”
- Employment: “Reaffirm that the Civil Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In 2014, the Obama-Biden Department of Justice affirmed that the Civil Rights Act’s Title VII prohibition against employment discrimination based on sex applies to discrimination based on gender identity.”
- Transgender and non-binary employment: “Biden will ensure that workforce and entrepreneurial training programs and resources funded by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Small Business Administration focus on and benefit this community.”
- Foster care and adoption agencies: “In November 2019, the Trump-Pence Administration proposeda rule that will permit [religious] adoption and foster care families … to receive government funding. As President, Biden will repeal the rule, if implemented. …”
- Homeless shelters: The plan says the current administration has “proposed allowing shelters to discriminate against transgender people when determining their accommodations, for example, by forcing transgender women [men who live as women] to sleep and use the bathroom in the same place as men.” Biden’s plan says that passage of the “Equality Act” will ensure that this can’t happen again.
- Blood donation: In order to reduce HIV transmission, Food and Drug Administration guidelines require “a man who has had sex with another man during the past 12 months” to defer donating “for 12 months from the most recent sexual contact” (quotes from the guidelines). Biden says he “will work with the Food and Drug Administration to ensure regulations are based on science, not fiction or stigma.”
- School sex-segregated activities and facilities: The proposal will guarantee that “transgender students have access to facilities based on their gender identity. On his first day in office, Biden will … restore transgender students’ access to sports, bathrooms, and locker rooms in accordance with their gender identity.”
- Therapy and resources for unwanted homosexuality or transgenderism: “As President, Biden will work to enact the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act.” R.3570, introduced in the House in 2019, would label as fraud and prohibit any “practice or treatment” or “product or service” to help those with gender dysphoria or homosexuality where there is “monetary compensation” (quotes from the Act).
Biden’s plan says that “the Trump-Pence Administration has led a systematic effort to undo the progress President Obama and Vice President Biden made.” His proposal would reverse the current administration’s polices and go even further than the Obama administration on these issues.
More articles about religious freedom:
Photo by Gage Skidmore