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House of Representatives passes bill confirming LGBTQ+ people can run for US president

Emily Chudy June 22, 2022
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House of Representatives passes bill confirming LGBTQ+ people can run for US president

President Joe Biden and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The United States’ House of Representatives has passed a bill bringing the country’s code into the 21st century, clarifying that women and LGBTQ+ people can run for president.

BNN Newsroom explained that a small former section of code defined “immediate family” as a president or former president’s “wife” or “widow”, which has now been amended to “spouse” or “surviving spouse”.

Before this legislation – dubbed the 21st Century President Act – women and LGBTQ+ people could still run for and become the American leader, however the specific language of the United States Code had not yet been updated.

BNN Newsroom clarified that the bill “specifically targets a section of the United States Code pertaining to threats against presidents, former presidents, and certain other individuals”.

Congressman David Cicilline said on Tuesday (21 June) that the language in the federal code “disregards the fact that a president may be female and the president’s spouse may not be”, adding that “this does not reflect the progress we’ve made in this country.”

Though there has never been a female or openly LGBTQ+ president in the US, Hillary Clinton famously ran against Donald Trump in 2016, losing to the Republican by a slim margin.

Meanwhile, Kamala Harris became not only the first female vice president, but the first African-American and the first Asian-American to hold the role when she ran with Joe Biden in 2020; her husband Douglas Emhoff was made the first ever “second gentleman of the United States” with her win.

In terms of an LGBTQ+ American leader, Pete Buttigieg was the first openly gay Democratic candidate to run for president – after Republican Fred Karger ran in 2012 – and gained momentum among voters before dropping out of the race in March 2020, then endorsing Joe Biden.

He now serves as secretary of transportation, making him the first openly gay person confirmed to the cabinet in US history.

Buttigieg said in a speech on the campaign trail: “The fact that I’m standing here – the fact that my husband’s in the audience watching right now – is just an amazing example of that belief that yes, yes, you belong, and this country has a place for you.

The Washington Post reports him as saying after a win in Iowa: “It validates, for a kid somewhere in a community wondering if he belongs or she belongs or they belong in their own family, that if you believe in yourself and your country, there’s a lot backing up that belief.”

More: house of representatives, Pete Buttigieg

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