February 19, 2021 at 11:36 am EST | by Chris Johnson
Biden: Equality Act ‘a critical step’ in achieving American values
President Joe Biden issued a statement on the Equality Act. (POOL PHOTO courtesy of the United States Senate Press Photographers Gallery)

President Biden, ahead of the expected vote on the Equality Act next week, issued a statement Friday on the LGBTQ legislation, calling it a “a critical step toward ensuring that America lives up to our foundational values of equality and freedom for all.”

“Full equality has been denied to LGBTQ+ Americans and their families for far too long,” Biden said. “Despite the extraordinary progress the LGBTQ+ community has made to secure their basic civil rights, discrimination is still rampant in many areas of our society. The Equality Act provides long overdue federal civil rights protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, locking in critical safeguards in our housing, education, public services, and lending systems — and codifying the courage and resilience of the LGBTQ+ movement into enduring law.”

Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) introduced the the Equality Act, which would expand anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people, on Thursday in anticipation of a floor vote in the House next week. Passage seems assured in the House, but the math is trickier in the Senate.

Biden said the passage of the Equality Act would follow up on the executive order he signed his first day in office implementing the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, which determined discrimination against LGBTQ people is a form of sex discrimination.

“I directed agencies to implement the Supreme Court’s Bostock ruling, and fully enforce Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation,” Biden said. “Now, it’s time for Congress to secure these protections once and for all by passing the Equality Act — because no one should ever face discrimination or live in fear because of who they are or whom they love.”

Read Biden’s full statement here.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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