Joe Biden just won the backing of the biggest LGBT+ rights group in the US: ‘He will be the president who stands up for us all’
Joe Biden has won the endorsement of Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBT+ rights group in the US.
Human Rights Campaign (HRC) formally announced its endorsement of the former vice president and presumptive Democratic nominee on Wednesday (May 6) — exactly eight years to the day since he came out swinging for equal marriage while Barack Obama was still officially “evolving” on the issue.
In its endorsement, the group cited Biden’s record in support of equality as vice president, and his extensive LGBT+ policy plan for the 2020 race.
HRC President Alphonso David said: “Vice president Joe Biden is the leader our community and our country need at this moment.
“His dedication to advancing LGBTQ equality, even when it was unpopular to do so, has pushed our country and our movement forward.”
David, a civil rights lawyer who took over as head of HRC last year, added: “This November, the stakes could not be higher. Far too many LGBTQ people, and particularly those who are most vulnerable, face discrimination, intimidation, and violence simply because of who they are and who they love.
“But rather than have our backs, Donald Trump and Mike Pence have spent the last three and a half years rolling back and rescinding protections for LGBTQ people.
“Joe Biden will be a president who stands up for all of us. HRC and our more than three million members and supporters will work day and night to ensure he is the next President of the United States.”
HRC says that ahead of the 2020 election, it has identified seven key target states — Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania Texas and Wisconsin — where there are 3.4 million voters who support equality “at risk of not turning out” on election day.
Joe Biden wins endorsement from US’s biggest trans rights group.
The endorsement comes one day after the National Center for Transgender Equality also threw its support behind Biden.
NCTE president Mara Keisling said: “President Trump has attacked transgender health care, put transgender students unnecessarily at risk and led a consistent and unrelenting effort to rollback protections for LGBTQ Americans.”
“Joe Biden is the clear choice for president of the United States, and the NCTE Action Fund is proud to endorse him.”
What has Joe Biden promised to do for LGBT+ rights?
Biden has detailed an extensive platform of policies for the LGBT+ community.
In the platform, Biden has pledged to use his executive power to “immediately reverse the discriminatory actions” of the Trump-Pence administration as he takes office, putting non-discrimination rules protecting LGBT+ people back into force, closing carved-out ‘religious freedom’ loopholes, and ending the ban on transgender people in the armed forces.
He has pledged to make the Equality Act, a bill to prohibit discrimination against LGBT+ people across all 50 states, a “top legislative priority” during his first 100 days in office.
Biden would improve gender recognition laws so that “every transgender or non-binary person [can] have the option of changing their gender marker to ‘M,’ ‘F,’ or ‘X’ on government identifications, passports, and other documentation”.
The presumptive Democratic nominee has also vowed to boost the enforcement of hate crime laws, and “direct federal resources to help prevent violence against transgender women, particularly transgender women of colour”.
He has pledged to work towards a ban on conversion therapy, and to use US foreign policy to “advance protections for LGBT+ people, fight for decriminalisation of LGBT+ identities and relationships, and respond swiftly and meaningfully to threats to LGBT+ rights or safety globally” around the world.
Biden has personally addressed LGBT+ issues in many of his speeches on the campaign trail — in contrast to Donald Trump, who has never published an LGBT+ policy plan and appears unaware of even minor changes on LGBT+ issues during his term in office.
What is Joe Biden’s record on LGBT+ rights?
Serving as Barack Obama’s vice president between 2008 and 2016, Biden earned a reputation as a solid supporter of LGBT+ rights, advocating for equal rights both in the US and around the world.
Biden was credited with forcing Barack Obama’s hand on same-sex marriage in 2012, by backing equality in a TV interview while the president was still officially “evolving” on the issue.
In 2014, Biden backed an executive order banning anti-LGBT+ workplace discrimination, before the president had responded to calls for action.
The vice president later made history when he carried out the first same-sex wedding at his official residence at the US Naval Observatory — an act that, naturally, has not been repeated under Mike Pence.
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At the end of his term as vice president, Biden revealed he had “run-ins with at least four heads of state” after challenging their anti-LGBT+ laws during official meetings.
Biden received the inaugural LGBT+ hero award at Democratic National Committee’s LGBT+ Gala in 2017, and made “ensuring LGBT+ equality” one of the key planks of his non-profit Biden Foundation — campaigning to challenge the “vile practice of conversion therapy”.
During the campaign, Biden faced attacks from Bernie Sanders over his 1994 Senate vote for ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ – the reviled ‘compromise’ plan on gays in the military which was engineered by Bill Clinton to end homophobic witch hunts, but is now seen to have merely entrenched the ban on gay soldiers.
However, Biden had long since disavowed ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ by the time it was repealed by the Obama administration in 2010, actively overseeing the efforts to scrap the ban entirely.
Biden’s campaign sought to shrug off the attacks from Sanders, pointing to his record on LGBT+ rights since 2008, in contrast to his votes 25 years ago.
His campaign has enjoyed support from a number of prominent LGBT+ political figures, including Congressional LGBT+ Equality Caucus co-chair Sean Patrick Maloney, out Senator Kyrsten Sinema, and former Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg.
Biden has promised a cabinet role to Buttigieg, saying: “I indicated to him that if I become the nominee, I’d come and ask him to be part of the administration, to be engaged in moving things forward.”