President Joe Biden called on Congress to pass the Equality Act during his State of the Union address last night, which focused largely on the economy.
“Let’s also pass the bipartisan Equality Act to ensure LGBTQ Americans, especially transgender young people, can live with safety and dignity,” Biden said.
This marks the third time Biden has asked Congress to pass the Equality Act, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to federal civil rights legislation, banning discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in a number of areas at the federal level. While the House of Representatives passed the Equality Act in the last two sessions of Congress – when Democrats had control of the chamber – it didn’t pass the Senate. Donald Trump said that he would veto it when he was in office.
Later in the speech, Biden mentioned LGBTQ+ people again by including the Respect for Marriage Act in a list of legislation he signed in the last two years.
“In fact, I signed over 300 bipartisan laws since becoming president,” he said. “From reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, to the Electoral Count Reform Act, to the Respect for Marriage Act that protects the right to marry the person you love.”
The Respect for Marriage Act would require states and the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages performed by other states if the Supreme Court overturns Obergefell v. Hodges, the decision that legalized marriage equality in all 50 states.
In the GOP response to Biden’s speech, Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) attacked Biden for being supportive of transgender people, calling Biden the “first man to surrender his presidency to a woke mob that can’t even tell you what a woman is” and said he was beholden to “woke fantasies.”
“Whether Joe Biden believes this madness or is simply too weak to resist it, his administration has been completely hijacked by the radical left,” she said. “It is time for a new generation of Republican leadership.”
She then praised herself for banning the non-binary term “Latinx” in Arkansas state documents.
“Tonight, Sarah Huckabee Sanders picked up right where she left off as Donald Trump’s Press Secretary,” HRC President Kelley Robinson said in a statement. “Just as she’s been doing in her brief tenure as governor of Arkansas, she used her moment in the spotlight to spread dangerous misinformation, lie to the American people, and remind all of us what will happen if Republicans take back the White House next year. It’s just plain despicable that she used her platform tonight to sow division by demonizing the LGBTQ+ community, especially transgender and non-binary people.”