TwitterFacebookPinterestGoogle+

Biden declares LGBTQ rights his No. 1 legislative priority

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden declared Saturday that the Equality Act would be his top legislative priority, an effort to enshrine LGBTQ protections into the nation’s labor and civil rights laws.

The former vice president shared his hopes of signing the legislation as part of a keynote address to hundreds of activists at the Human Rights Campaign’s annual Ohio gala on the first day of Pride Month. In a half-hour at the lectern, his remarks ranged from emotional tributes to his audience and their personal endurance to condemnations of President Donald Trump.

“It’s wrong and it is immoral what they’re doing,” Biden said of the Trump administration. Among other Trump polices, he cited attempts to bar transgender troops in the U.S. military, allow individuals in the medical field to refuse to treat LGBTQ individuals, and allow homeless shelters to refuse transgender occupants.

“Just like with racial justice and women’s rights, we are seeing pushback against all the progress we’ve made toward equality,” Biden said.

The Equality Act would address many such discriminatory practices. It recently passed the Democratic-run House, but will not become law under Trump and the Republican Senate. That means LGBTQ residents in dozens of states are still subject to various forms of discrimination that are either specifically allowed or not barred by state law.

“It will be the first thing I ask to be done,” Biden said.

Biden spoke in Ohio, a political battleground he was visiting for the first time since beginning his bid, on the same day that more than a dozen of his rivals were in San Francisco for the California Democratic Convention and a massive MoveOn.org conference. By the end of the weekend, 14 candidates will have addressed thousands of activists in California, which has more than 400 delegates to the 2020 convention, about a fifth of what it will take to win the nomination.

Among them, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, nodded to Biden’s absence with subtle jabs.

“Some Democrats in Washington believe the only changes we can get are tweaks and nudges. … Some say if we all just calm down, the Republicans will come to their senses,” Warren said, an allusion to Biden’s recent prediction that Republicans will have “an epiphany” once Trump leaves office.

Biden made no mention of his rivals, with his go-it-alone itinerary and his message signifying his burgeoning confidence at his position atop the pack of 24 presidential hopefuls.

Campaigning in a Midwest battleground is no surprise for Biden. One of the prevailing arguments for his candidacy is that his moderate, deal-making, “Middle Class Joe” brand offers Democrats their best shot to win back the industrial belt that Trump wrested from the party in 2016.

Yet the HRC event offered both Biden and his audience a chance to go beyond that simplified framing of the 2020 landscape.

“The thing that gets overlooked when the story is written about Ohio and the Midwest is that we’re incredibly diverse,” said Shawn Copeland, HRC’s Ohio director.

Copeland said HRC has identified about 1.8 million “equality voters” in Ohio, including 400,000 LGBTQ citizens, plus their family members, friends and other allies. Trump got 2.84 million Ohio votes to Hillary Clinton’s 2.4 million in 2016.

Biden, meanwhile, used the forum to underscore his long alliance with HRC and LGBTQ activists — a key to Biden’s contention that he’s more progressive than the party’s left flank acknowledges.

The former vice president visibly enjoyed recalling the 2012 presidential campaign when he announced his support for same-sex marriage before his boss, President Barack Obama, had done so.

Biden recalled that most political observers “thought I had just committed this gigantic blunder.” He said he’d let Obama know beforehand what might be coming. “I told the president if asked, I was not going to be quiet.”

The rest of his remarks were less jovial, as Biden lamented the widespread discrimination that still exists in the U.S. and abroad. Noting recent killings of black transgender women, he roared: “It’s outrageous. It must, it must, it must end. The fastest way to end it is to end the Trump administration.”

He lowered his voice as he listed the percentage of LGBTQ children and teens who attempt or consider suicide. “I don’t have to tell you how hard it is for these kids, because many of you were these kids,” he said, “the terror in your heart as you spoke your truth.”

Several Democratic hopefuls have addressed HRC state dinners this year. National officials with the organizations say they’ve worked with the campaigns and the state organizations to schedule the occasions.

A Biden campaign statement issued before the speech said the choice to go to Ohio proves Biden wants to have conversations about LGBTQ rights “not just on the coasts of this country, but in the heartland and with any and all Americans.”

The venue also allowed him to push back, at least indirectly, at some of the jabs from California. He reminded the audience that he campaigned for many of the freshman House Democrats who helped the party to a net gain of 41 seats — mostly by winning swing or GOP-leaning districts.

“We didn’t have to be radical about anything,” he said. “They talked about basic, fundamental rights.”

With the resulting House majority, Biden noted, the Equality Act has gotten further than ever before.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

VIDEO NEWS

National Politics

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Harvard pulls Parkland grad’s admission over racist comments

BOSTON (AP) — A Parkland school shooting survivor says Harvard University revoked his acceptance over…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

US restores some aid but vows no more without migrant action

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration said Monday it is easing previously announced cuts in…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Beto O’Rourke Honors Pulse Anniversary, Releases LGBTQ+ Plan

NEW YORK, NY — Beto O’Rourke unveiled a robust plan today to protect LGBTQ+ rights…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

2016 Orange County for Trump Chairman Keynotes “Tennessee Task Force 45” Rally in Memphis June 27th

MEMPHIS, Tn. (FNN NEWS) -  2016 Orange County for Trump Chairman and Florida National News…

STATE & LOCAL POLITICS

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Governor Ron DeSantis Highlights Computer Science and STEM Achievements in Pinellas County

LARGO, Fla. – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis visited Ridgecrest Elementary School in Pinellas County to…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Governor Ron DeSantis Announces Plan to Evaluate Security of Elections Systems in Florida and a Total of $5.1 Million for Election Cybersecurity

Tallahassee, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced that the Florida Department of State (DOS)…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Andrew Jeng Enters Florida House District 43 Race in Osceola County

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - Former Kissimmee City Commission candidate and tech business owner Andrew Jeng…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

FNN Politics and Power: Getting to Know Winter Park Mayor Steve Leary

WINTER PARK, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - Nestled in a treelined historic area just west of…

FNN SPORTS

  • TORONTO (AP) — Analysis: Why the Raptors will win the NBA Finals

MORE SPORTS NEWS

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

“90 for 90” campaign to celebrate 90 years of Golf Legend Arnold Palmer

ORLANDO, Fla. – In honor of what would have been Arnold Palmer’s 90th birthday this…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

U.S. Army Colonel Hal Kushner Named Honorary Pace Truck Driver for the Coke Zero Sugar 400

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Retired U.S. Army Col. Hal Kushner, an area resident who served…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Warriors beat Raptors 109-104 to even NBA Finals

TORONTO (AP) — The Golden State Warriors relied on a champion’s heart to overcome their…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Analysis: Why the Raptors will win the NBA Finals

TORONTO (AP) — Last time Kawhi Leonard played Golden State in the playoffs, he was…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Adam Silver reveals advice he’s given to Zion Williamson

TORONTO (AP) — NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says he has already offered presumed No. 1…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

New Hope for Kids Announce the Mascots for 26th Annual Mascot Games

ORLANDO, Fla. – New Hope for Kids has announced the Mascots that will compete in…

BUSINESS NEWS

  • FILE In this May 31, 2018, file photo a customer enters the Apple store in New York. Apple on Monday, March 18, 2019, unveiled a new iPad that's thinner and slightly larger than its current entry-level tablet. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
    NEW YORK (AP) - Apple refreshes iPad lineup, with larger entry-level model. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

MORE BUSINESS NEWS

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Trump Delays Imposing Tariffs on Auto Imports and Parts

WASHINGTON (AP) — Caught in a sprawling trade dispute with U.S. rival China, President Donald…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

US to Add 30,000 Seasonal Worker Visas as Soon as This Week

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration plans to allow 30,000 more foreign workers temporarily into…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Shark Tank Star Daymond John, DWTS's Lindsay Arnold, Joey Fatone to Host Runway to Hope 2019 Gala

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - Runway to Hope co-founder Attorney Mark NeJame announced on Facebook Wednesday…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Bank of America Raising Hourly Minimum Wage to $20

NEW YORK (AP) — Bank of America plans to raise its starting pay to $20…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Pinterest sets sites on $1.5B in first public share offering

NEW YORK (AP) — Pinterest, among a gaggle of tech companies planning to go public…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Gone in 6 minutes: an Ethiopian Airlines jet’s final journey

From nearly the moment they roared down the runway and took off in their new…

ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

  • “Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood” star Brad Pitt is all smiles on the 2019 Cannes Film Festival red carpet for the film's premiere Tuesday, May 21. Photo: Patience Eding/Another Concept Magazine/Florida National News.
    CANNES, France (FNN NEWS) - [PHOTOS] 2019 Cannes Film Festival: ‘Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood’ Stars Electrify the Red Carpet (Photo: Patience Eding/Another Concept Magazine/Florida National News)

MORE ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

blink-182 and Lil Wayne Join Forces for Co-Headlining Summer Tour

LOS ANGELES, Ca. (LiveNation) — Multi-platinum, award winning artists blink-182 and Lil Wayne announced they’ll be hitting the road together…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Kevin Spacey appears at court for hearing in groping case

NANTUCKET, Mass. (AP) — Sporting a gray suit and glasses, Kevin Spacey appeared Monday at…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Taylor Swift asks Tennessee senator to support Equality Act

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Taylor Swift says she’s kicking off Pride Month by asking Tennessee’s…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

A diminished ‘Godzilla’ still bests ‘Rocketman,’ ‘Ma’

NEW YORK (AP) — The latest iteration of the Godzilla franchise took over the top…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Russians criticize heavily edited version of Elton John film

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian gay rights activists and cultural figures are criticizing the local distributor…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

R. Kelly charged with 11 new sex-related crimes in Chicago

CHICAGO (AP) — Prosecutors charged R&B singer R. Kelly on Thursday with 11 new sex-related…

LIFESTYLE, TRAVEL & TOURISM

  • “Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood” star Brad Pitt is all smiles on the 2019 Cannes Film Festival red carpet for the film's premiere Tuesday, May 21. Photo: Patience Eding/Another Concept Magazine/Florida National News.
    CANNES, France (FNN NEWS) - [PHOTOS] 2019 Cannes Film Festival: ‘Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood’ Stars Electrify the Red Carpet (Photo: Patience Eding/Another Concept Magazine/Florida National News)

MORE LIFESTYLE NEWS

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

“90 for 90” campaign to celebrate 90 years of Golf Legend Arnold Palmer

ORLANDO, Fla. – In honor of what would have been Arnold Palmer’s 90th birthday this…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Florida Republican Party Chairman, State Senator Joe Gruters to Keynote Orlando Republican Women Federated June Event

APOPKA, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - As the 2020 election season builds momentum, the Florida Republican…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

Flagler County Republican Club Launches 2020 Election Season with Sweet Contest

PALM COAST, Fla. (FNN NEWS) - The Flagler County Republican Club's (FCRC) annual Blue Ribbon…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

[PHOTOS] 2019 Cannes Film Festival: ‘Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood’ Stars Electrify the Red Carpet

CANNES, France (FNN NEWS) - Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood premiered…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

[PHOTOS] 2019 Cannes Film Festival: Model Winnie Harlow Wows on the Red Carpet

CANNES, France (FNN NEWS) - Game-changing model Winnie Harlow, who rocked the world several years ago…

An error occured during creating the thumbnail.

[PHOTOS] The Most Stunning Celebrity Looks from 2019 Cannes Film Festival’s Opening Night

CANNES, France (FNN NEWS) – Stunning celebrity fashion filled the red carpet on Opening Night…