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Trump administration issues lukewarm response to Taylor Swift’s rousing call for equality at VMAs

Nick Duffy August 28, 2019
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The Trump administration rejected Taylor Swift's calls to pass the Equality Act

The Trump administration rejected Taylor Swift's calls to pass the Equality Act (Getty)

The Trump administration has responded to Taylor Swift’s rousing call for equality and reaffirmed its opposition to a bill that would add federal civil rights protections for LGBT+ people.

The singer used her platform at the MTV Video Music Awards on Monday to call for the passage of an LGBT+ non-discrimination law, after attaching a petition in support of the Equality Act to her award-winning ‘You Need to Calm Down’ video.

Taylor Swift said: “You voting for this video means that you want a world where we’re all treated equally under the law, regardless of who we love, regardless of how we identify.

“I want to thank everyone that signed that petition because it now has half a million signatures, which is five times the amount that it would need to warrant a response from the White House.”

The public call-out from Taylor Swift finally prompted a response from the Trump administration, confirming its opposition to the bill.

Trump administration rejects Taylor Swift call for passage of Equality Act.

White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere told CNN: “The Trump administration absolutely opposes discrimination of any kind and supports the equal treatment of all; however, the House-passed bill in its current form is filled with poison pills that threaten to undermine parental and conscience rights.”

A White House spokesperson previously confirmed to the Washington Blade that the Trump administration does not support the bill.

President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media in the Oval Office of the White House August 20, 2019 in Washington, DC.
President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media in the Oval Office of the White House August 20, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

At the time, Sarah Kate Ellis of GLAAD responded: “President Trump’s opposition to the Equality Act, a bill that would protect hard-working Americans against discrimination, shows the unyielding power that anti-LGBTQ activists like the Heritage Foundation have on this administration.

“LGBTQ Americans will not forget the president’s politically craven flip-flop on this fair and just legislation, which further cements his administration’s legacy of being the most anti-LGBTQ government in recent memory.”

The Equality Act passed through the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives in May by a vote of 236-173, but the Senate’s Republican leadership have refused to put the bill to a vote.

The bill seeks to extend existing Civil Rights Act protections for race and sex to also protect people on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Republicans have opposed LGBT+ equality law.

When it was passing through the House of Representatives, one anti-LGBT+ Republican lawmaker attempted to formally rename the bill the “Forfeiting Women’s Rights Act”.

Another GOP amendment sought to replace the phrase “gender identity’’ in the bill with “sex designated at birth”, despite sex already being covered by the Civil Rights Act.

Other Republican amendments sought to carve out vast opt-outs and loopholes based on religion.

Democrats have remained largely united in support of the bill, with 44 out of 45 Democratic senators in favour, and nearly all of the party’s presidential hopefuls pledging to sign it.

Current frontrunner Joe Biden made clear in June: “We need to elect a Democratic Senate that will pass it.

“I promise you, if I’m elected president, it will be the first thing I will ask to be done, because it will send a message not just at home but around the world.”

He added: “This is the civil rights issue of our time. If it fails, think about what else fails. It would have a profound effect on who we are as people.”

Related topics: Donald Trump, Equality Act, taylor swift

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