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U.S. bishops rebuke Biden for officiating same-sex wedding

Catholic leaders warn ‘confusion arises’ when high-profile figure deviates from church



Joe Biden, gay news, Washington Blade
Vice President Joe Biden married a same-sex couple. (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Vice President Joe Biden married a same-sex couple. (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

LGBT advocates cheered Vice President Joseph Biden last week for officiating the wedding of a same-sex couple who work at the White House, but high-ranking U.S. Catholic bishops aren’t so happy.

In a blog posted Friday on the website for U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, three prominent bishops denounced the idea that a “prominent Catholic politician” would marry a same-sex couple.

“When a prominent Catholic politician publicly and voluntarily officiates at a ceremony to solemnize the relationship of two people of the same-sex, confusion arises regarding Catholic teaching on marriage and the corresponding moral obligations of Catholics,” the bishops write. “What we see is a counter witness, instead of a faithful one founded in the truth.”

Although Biden’s name is never enumerated, recent events leave little doubt the vice president, who’s Catholic, is the focus of the blog post. Last week, Biden presided over the wedding of Brian Mosteller, director of Oval Office operations and special assistant to President Obama, and Joe Mahshie, a trip coordinator for first lady Michelle Obama.

The three bishops who wrote the blog post are Joseph Kurtz, archbishop of Louisville, Ky., and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; Richard Malone, bishop of Buffalo, N.Y.; and Thomas Wenski, archbishop of Miami, Fla.

The bishops in a blog post invoke the words of Pope Francis, saying they join him “in preserving the dignity and meaning of marriage as the union of a man and a woman.”

“The two strands of the dignity of the person and the dignity of marriage and the family are interwoven,” the bishops write. “To pull apart one is to unravel the whole fabric.”

Although Francis has a reputation for supporting LGBT people and lessening the church’s condemnation of LGBT right advances, he hasn’t changed the church’s opposition to same-sex marriage. Just before the vote in Italy to legalize civil unions, Francis said January in a speech to the Roman Rota “there can be no confusion between the family as willed by God, and every other type of union.”

Recognizing “faithful witness can be challenging,” the bishops remind all Catholics to uphold the church’s views, especially those like Biden who’ve “embraced positions of leadership and public service.”

“Let us pray for our Catholic leaders in public life, that they may fulfill the responsibilities entrusted to them with grace and courage and offer a faithful witness that will bring much needed light to the world,” the bishops conclude. “And may all of us as Catholics help each other be faithful and joyful witnesses wherever we are called.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops didn’t respond to the Washington Blade’s request to verify the “prominent Catholic politician” discussed in the blog post is Biden, nor did the White House respond to a request for comment on the remarks.

Prior to the blog post, each of the three bishops has previously expressed opposition to same-sex marriage. When Maine was first seeking to legalize same-sex marriage in 2009, Malone called it “a dangerous sociological experiment.”

After the U.S. Supreme Court decision in favor of same-sex marriage, Wenski compared the ruling to the Roe v. Wade and Dred Scott decisions, reminding members of his diocese they could lose their jobs for supporting same-sex marriage. Kurtz called the ruling “a tragic error.”

Biden, on the other hand, came out in favor of same-sex marriage on NBC’s “Meet the Press” in 2012, preceding President Obama’s announcement in support of marriage equality by a few days.

Although the three bishops oppose same-sex marriage, the majority of Catholics in the United States support gay nuptials. According to a May poll from the Pew Research Center, about six-in-10 Catholics, or 58 percent, now support same-sex marriage.

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, offered Monday on Twitter a contrasting view to Biden’s decision to wed a same-sex couple, reminding the bishops “we are all God’s children.”

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  1. MikeinBaltimore

    August 9, 2016 at 3:16 am

    The bishops need to be reminded that the VP is acting within Civil Law, not Catholic law. Can anyone tell us the Section or Clause from the US Constitution that places Catholic law above the US Constitution, and thus US Law?

    Reminds me of the woman I formerly worked with – she was Catholic and wanted to marry a divorced man. Her priest wouldn’t do it, but a priest in a nearby parish would and did, based on the ;recommendation’ of her priest. (BTW, the marriage was in NoVa.)

    • Paul Puebla

      August 10, 2016 at 12:33 am

      Can you site for me where in the Federal Constitution it gives the Supreme Court the right to pass laws? Please read Article 1 Section 1 it states that all legislative power herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives. That means only congress can pass laws not judges. Also read Article III both section 1 and 2. No where in the constitution does it give the federal judiciary the right of Judicial Review (to decide the constitutionality of a law or regulation.) Also you will not find that right in anywhere in the constitution. The court just started doing it in 1803. What you will find is that Amendment 10 says “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution nor prohibited to the States are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”. The Supreme court on same-sex-marriage unconstitutionally declared laws of six states banning same-sex marriage unconstitutional which does not constitute a law but is just an opinion. What needs to happen is that congress must pass a law then the states or the people need to rule on the constitutionality. The laws of my Apache People where more simple, less conveluted and workable.

      • MikeinBaltimore

        August 10, 2016 at 1:35 am

        ‘. . . site. . . .’ not ‘cite’?

        The rest of your rant is ignored if you are sooo ignorant to think ‘site’ means the same as ‘cite’.

        • Paul Puebla

          November 4, 2016 at 1:43 am

          I meant to type site but I wouldn’t expect one like you who never makes a mistake to understand that. Have you bothered to read Article 1 Section 1? You probably don’t know where to find it.

      • CBR_44

        August 10, 2016 at 9:03 am

        in a landmark United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held in a 5–4 decision that “the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”
        So it clearly was not a law pass by the justices of court.

  2. slowe11

    August 9, 2016 at 9:28 am

    Why? Why is any gay man STILL a member of this organization? Why is any LGBT still Catholic? Really!

    • slowe11

      August 9, 2016 at 9:31 am

      As a “replacement ” consider Humanism. A non-theistic alternative to religion.

      • Thomas Moore

        August 10, 2016 at 7:50 am

        There are plenty of Christian churches available for gay men and women….. The Catholics and their child raper Priests are just one option among many.

        • slowe11

          August 10, 2016 at 10:11 am

          But we must remember that the Christian churches for centuries has been our enemy and has inspired our killings and our suppression, and rejections, and our suicides. it is only recently, VERY recently that being gay was an acceptable way to be a Christian. How can that be? And those churches that are “welcoming” must close their eyes and ignore numerous verses in their book of “god’s word”. in order to be this way. No, they are too late to the table to be acceptable. Their sins are too great, there is too much blood and suffering on their hands. Christianity is a flawed and damaged and unacceptably view of the world. Humanism is better.

          • ludwig123

            August 15, 2016 at 6:02 pm

            The problem is that people who living in the 20th and 21st century try to act like the mores of the 1st century are current—in a backward time travel thing—it is incongruent with reality—in other words –they want to believe in the unreality that we are still in the first century when most of the population was ignorant and could not read or write, had no electricity, cars et al and today we do.
            The Thinking intelligent person will not accept many of the myths of the scriptures but see them as outright lies and distortions.:Perhaps Jesus did not walk on water–he surfed it but we are not told that by the writer to make it seem supernatural. There was nothing miraculous about raising Lazarus—CPR was well known i Jesus’s time. No reasonable person would really believe that given the number of species of all the earth’s animals, and other creatures –that Noah could have fit them all in a boat (which was round shaped).. WE still have floods and rainbows that are simply the manifestation of a prism effect. Heaven is not above in the sky–we have been there and have not seen any streets paved of gold–instead we have seen other planets and stars. traveiing through a vacuum.
            The main difference between science and religion is that religion pretends to tell the truth but instead tells lies and half truths. Science always seeks the absolute truth and while it may make errors in telling the truth–it always seeks to correct them. Religion almost never does.

  3. CPT_Doom

    August 9, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    I’m so sure the bishops have also chastised Catholic politicians and civic leaders who married Protestants, or divorced people, right?

    Of course, one could argue that continuing to conduct the largest criminal conspiracy in human history, comprising obstruction of justice, aiding and abetting rapists and defrauding parishioners would be more damaging to the morals of church members, but that would be mean.

    (Note: I was confirmed into the Catholic Church in 1984, but have long since left it).

  4. Thomas Moore

    August 10, 2016 at 7:51 am

    Instead of rebuking Priests who rape kids, they just move them to a different area, with more kids.

    Is gayness worse then rape to these Neanderthals?

  5. ludwig123

    August 11, 2016 at 5:53 pm

    What else to you expect that the Roman Catholic Church would finally give up their superstitions about gay people? Strange as it may be–the Church was perfectly comfortable with its LGBT members until 1000 AD when all the anti-lgbt cannons began to be enacted. We owe much of these anit-lgbt canons to The Emperor who made Christianity the official religion of the Europe and what now Turkey.

    • ludwig123

      August 11, 2016 at 5:56 pm

      Also the Bishops are denying Bidden the right to participate in the Eucharist–the essential component in all Christianity. IF you cannot win within then join a group where you can–in this case that would be among several others the Episcopal Church in the United States.

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Top 10 Blade news stories by web traffic

COVID breakthroughs, Equality Act, and anti-trans attacks



Elliot Page created excitement by posting his first photo in swim trunks back in May.

Each year our staff gathers in late December to review the highest trafficked stories of the year and there’s more than a little bit of competitive spirit as we review the results. Here are the top 10 stories by web traffic at  HYPERLINK “” for 2021.

#10: Mark Glaze, gun reform advocate, dies at 51

The sad, tragic story of Glaze’s death captivated readers in November. 

#9: COVID breakthrough infections strike summer tourists visiting Provincetown

This one went viral in July after a COVID outbreak was blamed on gay tourists.

#8: Thank you, Kordell Stewart, for thoughtful response to ‘the rumor’

This opinion piece thanked the former NFL quarterback for writing a personal essay addressing gay rumors. 

#7: Elliot Page tweets; trans bb’s first swim trunks #transjoy #transisbeautiful

The actor created excitement by posting his first photo in swim trunks back in May.

#6: Romney declares opposition to LGBTQ Equality Act

Mitt Romney disappointed activists with his announcement; the Equality Act passed the House but never saw a vote in the Senate.

#5: White House warns state legislatures that passing anti-trans bills is illegal

The year 2021 saw a disturbing trend of GOP-led legislatures attacking trans people.

#4: Lincoln Project’s avowed ignorance of Weaver texts undercut by leaked communications

The Lincoln Project’s leaders, amid a scandal of co-founder John Weaver soliciting sexual favors from young men, have asserted they were unaware of his indiscretions until the Blade obtained electronic communications that called that claim into question.

#3: FOX 5’s McCoy suspended over offensive Tweet

Blake McCoy tweeted that obese people shouldn’t get priority for the COVID vaccine. 

#2: Transgender USAF veteran trapped in Taliban takeover of Kabul

Among the Americans trapped in the suburban areas of Kabul under Taliban control was a transgender government contractor for the U.S. State Department and former U.S. Air Force Sergeant. She was later safely evacuated.

#1: Amid coup chaos, Trump quietly erases LGBTQ protections in adoption, health services

And our most popular story of 2021 was about the Trump administration nixing regulations barring federal grantees in the Department of Health & Human Services from discriminating against LGBTQ people, including in adoption services.

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CDC still falling short on LGBTQ data collection for COVID patients: expert



COVID-19 vaccine, gay news, Washington Blade
The CDC is still not issuing guidance to states on LGBTQ data collection among COVID patients.

Despite requests since the start of the COVID pandemic for the U.S. government to enhance data collection for patients who are LGBTQ, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention is still falling short on issuing nationwide guidance to states on the issue, a leading expert health on the issue told the Blade.

With a renewed focus on COVID infections reaching new heights just before the start of the holidays amid the emergence of Omicron, the absence of any LGBTQ data collection — now across both the Trump and Biden administrations — remains a sore point for health experts who say that information could be used for public outreach.

Sean Cahill, director of Health Policy Research at the Boston-based Fenway Institute, said Wednesday major federal entities and hospitals have been collecting data on whether patients identify as LGBTQ for years — such as the National Health & Nutrition Examination Survey, which has been collecting sexual orientation data since the 1990s — but the CDC hasn’t duplicated that effort for COVID even though the pandemic has been underway for two years.

“It’s not like this is a new idea,” Cahill said. “But for some reason, the pandemic hit, and all of a sudden, we realize how little systematic data we were collecting in our health system. And it’s a real problem because we’re two years into the pandemic almost, and we still don’t know how it’s affecting this vulnerable population that experiences health disparities in other areas.”

The Blade was among the first outlets to report on the lack of efforts by the states to collect data on whether a COVID patient identifies as LGBTQ, reporting in April 2020 on the absence of data even in places with influential LGBTQ communities. The CDC hasn’t responded to the Blade’s requests for nearly two years on why it doesn’t instruct states to collect this data, nor did it respond this week to a request for comment on this article.

Cahill, who has published articles in the American Journal of Public Health on the importance of LGBTQ data collection and reporting in COVID-19 testing, care, and vaccination — said he’s been making the case to the CDC to issue guidance to states on whether COVID patients identify as LGBTQ since June 2020.

Among those efforts, he said, were to include two comments he delivered to the Biden COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force in spring 2021, a letter a coalition of groups sent to the Association of State & Territorial Health Officers asking for states to collect and report SOGI in COVID in December 2020 as well as letters to HHS leadership and congressional leadership in spring and summer 2020 asking for them to take steps to encourage or require SOGI data collection in COVID.

Asked what CDC officials had to say in response when he brought this issue to their attention, Cahill said, “They listen, but they don’t really tell me anything.”

“We’ve been making that case, and to date, as of December 22, 2021, they have not issued guidance, they have not changed the case report form. I hope that they’re in the process of doing that, and maybe we’ll be pleasantly surprised in January, and they’ll come up with something…I really hope that’s true, but right now they’re not doing anything to promote SOGI data collection and reporting in surveillance data.”

Cahill, in an email to the Blade after the initial publication of this article, clarified CDC has indicated guidance on LGBTQ data collection for COVID patients may come in the near future.

“HHS leaders told us this fall that CDC is working on an initiative to expand SOGI data collection,” Cahill said. “We are hopeful that we will see guidance early in 2022. Key people at CDC, including Director Walensky, understand the importance of SOGI data collection given their long history of working on HIV prevention.”

In other issues related to LGBTQ data collection, there has been a history of states resisting federal mandates. The Trump administration, for example, rescinded guidance calling on states to collect information on whether foster youth identified as LGBTQ after complaints from states on the Obama-era process, much to the consternation of LGBTQ advocates who said the data was helpful.

The White House COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force has at least recognized the potential for enhancing LGBTQ data collection efforts. Last month, it published an implementation plan, calling for “an equity-centered approach to data collection, including sufficient funding to collect data for groups that are often left out of data collection (e.g….LGBTQIA+ people).”

The plan also calls for “fund[ing] activities to improve data collection…including tracking COVID-19 related outcomes for people of color and other underserved populations,” and specifically calls for the collection of LGBTQ data.

The importance of collecting LGBTQ data, Cahill said, is based on its potential use in public outreach, including efforts to recognize disparities in health population and to create messaging for outreach, including for populations that may be reluctant to take the vaccine.

“If we see a disparity, we can say: Why is that?” Cahill said. “We could do focus groups of the population — try to understand and then what kind of messages would reassure you and make you feel comfortable getting a vaccine, and we could push those messages out through public education campaigns led by state local health departments led by the federal government.”

The LGBTQ data, Cahill said, could be broken down further to determine if racial and ethnic disparities exist within the LGBTQ population, or whether LGBTQ people are likely to suffer from the disease in certain regions, such as the South.

“We have data showing that lesbian or bisexual women, and transgender people are less likely to be in preventive regular routine care for their health,” Cahill said. “And so if that’s true, there’s a good chance that they’re less likely to know where to get a vaccine, to have a medical professional they trust to talk to about it today.”

Among the leaders who are supportive, Cahill said, is Rachel Levine, assistant secretary for health and the first openly transgender person confirmed by the U.S. Senate for a presidential appointment. Cahill said he raised the issue with her along with other officials at the Department of Health & Human Services three times in the last year.

In her previous role as Pennsylvania secretary of health, Levine led the way and made her state the first in the nation to set up an LGBTQ data collection system for COVID patients.

“So she definitely gets it, and I know she’s supportive of it, but we really need the CDC to act,” Cahill said.

Although the federal government has remained intransigent in taking action, Cahill said the situation has improved among states and counted five states — California, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Nevada and Oregon — in addition to D.C. as among those that have elected to collect data on sexual orientation and gender identity of COVID patients.

However, Cahill said even those data collection efforts are falling short because those jurisdictions have merely been public about collecting the data, but haven’t reported back anything yet.

“Only California has reported data publicly, and the data that they’re reporting is really just the completeness of the data,” Cahill said. “They’re not reporting the data itself…And they’re also just asking people who tests positive. So, if somebody says positive COVID in California, a contact tracer follows up with that individual and asks them a battery of questions, and among the questions that are asked are SOGI questions.”

As a result of these efforts, Cahill said, California has data on the LGBTQ status of COVID patients, but the data is overwhelmingly more complete for the gender identity of these patients rather than their sexual orientation. As of May 2021, California reported that they had sexual orientation data for 9.5 percent of individuals who had died from COVID and 16 percent of people who tested positive, but for gender identity, the data were 99.5 percent.

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Equality Act, contorted as a danger by anti-LGBTQ forces, is all but dead

No political willpower to force vote or reach a compromise



Despite having President Biden in the White House and Democratic majorities in both chambers of Congress, efforts to update federal civil rights laws to strengthen the prohibition on discrimination against LGBTQ people by passing the Equality Act are all but dead as opponents of the measure have contorted it beyond recognition.

Political willpower is lacking to find a compromise that would be acceptable to enough Republican senators to end a filibuster on the bill — a tall order in any event — nor is there the willpower to force a vote on the Equality Act as opponents stoke fears about transgender kids in sports and not even unanimity in the Democratic caucus in favor of the bill is present, stakeholders who spoke to the Blade on condition of anonymity said.

In fact, there are no imminent plans to hold a vote on the legislation even though Pride month is days away, which would be an opportune time for Congress to demonstrate solidarity with the LGBTQ community by holding a vote on the legislation.

If the Equality Act were to come up for a Senate vote in the next month, it would not have the support to pass. Continued assurances that bipartisan talks are continuing on the legislation have yielded no evidence of additional support, let alone the 10 Republicans needed to end a filibuster.

“I haven’t really heard an update either way, which is usually not good,” one Democratic insider said. “My understanding is that our side was entrenched in a no-compromise mindset and with [Sen. Joe] Manchin saying he didn’t like the bill, it doomed it this Congress. And the bullying of hundreds of trans athletes derailed our message and our arguments of why it was broadly needed.”

The only thing keeping the final nail from being hammered into the Equality Act’s coffin is the unwillingness of its supporters to admit defeat. Other stakeholders who spoke to the Blade continued to assert bipartisan talks are ongoing, strongly pushing back on any conclusion the legislation is dead.

Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said the Equality Act is “alive and well,” citing widespread public support he said includes “the majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents and a growing number of communities across the country engaging and mobilizing every day in support of the legislation.”

“They understand the urgent need to pass this bill and stand up for LGBTQ people across our country,” David added. “As we engage with elected officials, we have confidence that Congress will listen to the voices of their constituents and continue fighting for the Equality Act through the lengthy legislative process.  We will also continue our unprecedented campaign to grow the already-high public support for a popular bill that will save lives and make our country fairer and more equal for all. We will not stop until the Equality Act is passed.”

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), chief sponsor of the Equality Act in the Senate, also signaled through a spokesperson work continues on the legislation, refusing to give up on expectations the legislation would soon become law.

“Sen. Merkley and his staff are in active discussions with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to try to get this done,” McLennan said. “We definitely see it as a key priority that we expect to become law.”

A spokesperson Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who had promised to force a vote on the Equality Act in the Senate on the day the U.S. House approved it earlier this year, pointed to a March 25 “Dear Colleague” letter in which he identified the Equality Act as one of several bills he’d bring up for a vote.

Despite any assurances, the hold up on the bill is apparent. Although the U.S. House approved the legislation earlier this year, the Senate Judiciary Committee hasn’t even reported out the bill yet to the floor in the aftermath of the first-ever Senate hearing on the bill in March. A Senate Judiciary Committee Democratic aide, however, disputed that inaction as evidence the Equality Act is dead in its tracks: “Bipartisan efforts on a path forward are ongoing.”

Democrats are quick to blame Republicans for inaction on the Equality Act, but with Manchin withholding his support for the legislation they can’t even count on the entirety of their caucus to vote “yes” if it came to the floor. Progressives continue to advocate an end to the filibuster to advance legislation Biden has promised as part of his agenda, but even if they were to overcome headwinds and dismantle the institution needing 60 votes to advance legislation, the Equality Act would likely not have majority support to win approval in the Senate with a 50-50 party split.

The office of Manchin, who has previously said he couldn’t support the Equality Act over concerns about public schools having to implement the transgender protections applying to sports and bathrooms, hasn’t responded to multiple requests this year from the Blade on the legislation and didn’t respond to a request to comment for this article.

Meanwhile, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who declined to co-sponsor the Equality Act this year after having signed onto the legislation in the previous Congress, insisted through a spokesperson talks are still happening across the aisle despite the appearances the legislation is dead.

“There continues to be bipartisan support for passing a law that protects the civil rights of Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Annie Clark, a Collins spokesperson. “The Equality Act was a starting point for negotiations, and in its current form, it cannot pass. That’s why there are ongoing discussions among senators and stakeholders about a path forward.”

Let’s face it: Anti-LGBTQ forces have railroaded the debate by making the Equality Act about an end to women’s sports by allowing transgender athletes and danger to women in sex-segregated places like bathrooms and prisons. That doesn’t even get into resolving the issue on drawing the line between civil rights for LGBTQ people and religious freedom, which continues to be litigated in the courts as the U.S. Supreme Court is expected any day now to issue a ruling in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia to determine if foster care agencies can reject same-sex couples over religious objections.

For transgender Americans, who continue to report discrimination and violence at high rates, the absence of the Equality Act may be most keenly felt.

Mara Keisling, outgoing executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, disputed any notion the Equality Act is dead and insisted the legislation is “very much alive.”

“We remain optimistic despite misinformation from the opposition,” Keisling said. “NCTE and our movement partners are still working fruitfully on the Equality Act with senators. In fact, we are gaining momentum with all the field organizing we’re doing, like phone banking constituents to call their senators. Legislating takes time. Nothing ever gets through Congress quickly. We expect to see a vote during this Congress, and we are hopeful we can win.”

But one Democratic source said calls to members of Congress against the Equality Act, apparently coordinated by groups like the Heritage Foundation, have has outnumbered calls in favor of it by a substantial margin, with a particular emphasis on Manchin.

No stories are present in the media about same-sex couples being kicked out of a restaurant for holding hands or transgender people for using the restroom consistent with their gender identity, which would be perfectly legal in 25 states thanks to the patchwork of civil rights laws throughout the United States and inadequate protections under federal law.

Tyler Deaton, senior adviser for the American Unity Fund, which has bolstered the Republican-led Fairness for All Act as an alternative to the Equality Act, said he continues to believe the votes are present for a compromise form of the bill.

“I know for a fact there is a supermajority level of support in the Senate for a version of the Equality Act that is fully protective of both LGBTQ civil rights and religious freedom,” Deaton said. “There is interest on both sides of the aisle in getting something done this Congress.”

Deaton, however, didn’t respond to a follow-up inquiry on what evidence exists of agreeing on this compromise.

Biden has already missed the goal he campaigned on in the 2020 election to sign the Equality Act into law within his first 100 days in office. Although Biden renewed his call to pass the legislation in his speech to Congress last month, as things stand now that appears to be a goal he won’t realize for the remainder of this Congress.

Nor has the Biden administration made the Equality Act an issue for top officials within the administration as it pushes for an infrastructure package as a top priority. One Democratic insider said Louisa Terrell, legislative affairs director for the White House, delegated work on the Equality Act to a deputy as opposed to handling it herself.

To be sure, Biden has demonstrated support for the LGBTQ community through executive action at an unprecedented rate, signing an executive order on day one ordering federal agencies to implement the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year in Bostock v. Clayton County to the fullest extent possible and dismantling former President Trump’s transgender military ban. Biden also made historic LGBTQ appointments with the confirmation of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Rachel Levine as assistant secretary of health.

A White House spokesperson insisted Biden’s team across the board remains committed to the Equality Act, pointing to his remarks to Congress.

“President Biden has urged Congress to get the Equality Act to his desk so he can sign it into law and provide long overdue civil rights protections to LGBTQ+ Americans, and he remains committed to seeing this legislation passed as quickly as possible,” the spokesperson said. “The White House and its entire legislative team remains in ongoing and close coordination with organizations, leaders, members of Congress, including the Equality Caucus, and staff to ensure we are working across the aisle to push the Equality Act forward.”

But at least in the near-term, that progress will fall short of fulfilling the promise of updating federal civil rights law with the Equality Act, which will mean LGBTQ people won’t be able to rely on those protections when faced with discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

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