A day after the Florida State Senate passed a controversial piece of legislation that bans all discussion of gender identity or sexual orientation in public schools, the Biden Administration did what the Walt Disney corporation couldn't and came out in strong opposition to the "Don't Say Gay" bill.
In a tweet Tuesday evening, the President reacted to the bill's passage by reinforcing his administration's support for the LGBTQ+ community.
I want every member of the LGBTQI+ community \u2014 especially the kids who will be impacted by this hateful bill \u2014 to know that you are loved and accepted just as you are. I have your back, and my Administration will continue to fight for the protections and safety you deserve.https://twitter.com/WhiteHouse/status/1491182851919908873\u00a0\u2026— President Biden (@President Biden) 1644361654
"I want every member of the LGBTQI+ community — especially the kids who will be impacted by this hateful bill — to know that you are loved and accepted just as you are. I have your back, and my Administration will continue to fight for the protections and safety you deserve," Biden wrote.
The White House was quick to back up Biden's statements in the press briefing, issuing a rare condemnation of the bill.
"Every parent, as one myself too, hopes that our leaders will ensure their children's safety, protection and freedom, and today, conservative politicians in Florida rejected those basic values by advancing legislation that is designed to target and attack the kids who need support, support the most, kids from the LGBTQI+ community, who are already vulnerable to bullying — and we've seen that in study after study — and violence, just for being themselves and just for being who they are," press secretary, Jen Psaki, told reporters.
It was suggested that Florida schools could lose access to federal grants and funds if they abide by the "Don't Say Gay" bill as it would violate a 1972 law that prevents discrimination on the basis of sex. Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas all currently have similar laws on their books banning discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation under the guide of protecting "parental rights."
"Across the country, we're seeing Republican leaders take actions to regulate what students can or cannot read, what they can or cannot learn, and most troubling, who they can or cannot be," White House Assistant Press Secretary Kevin Munoz said in a statement.
He continued, "This is politics at its worse, cynically treating our students as pawns in a game and not people who deserve love and respect. At every step of the way, Republicans have peddled in cheap, political attacks, instead of focusing on the issues parents, students, and teachers care about."
This feels like a deflection, even if it brings us to the right conclusion (the "now" of it all). It is crucial for public figures/politicians to apologize for views they held in the past, explain where they stand now, and how they're working to fight for those they harmed.https://twitter.com/therecount/status/1501629339636580358\u00a0\u2026— pfpicardi (@pfpicardi) 1646851711
Psaki did draw criticism for dodging a question about Biden's support of a similar anti-LGBTQ+ legislation back in the 1994. "This feels like a deflection, even if it brings us to the right conclusion (the 'now' of it all)," Philip Picardi tweeted. "It is crucial for public figures/politicians to apologize for views they held in the past, explain where they stand now, and how they're working to fight for those they harmed."
In fairness, the Democrats stance on most LGBTQ+ issues have greatly evolved over the past quarter century so a moderate like Biden changing his position isn't all too surprising. The '90s ushered in the era of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which was signed by a sitting Democrat President, Bill Clinton, but the party has come a long way since. Growth is possible.
Photo via Getty/ ROBYN BECK/ AFP
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