President Biden will mark Pride Month Wednesday by mandating that federal agencies craft “inclusive” school policies and ensure that same-sex couples and transgender adults can foster children.

Biden will sign an executive order that includes various other gay and transgender rights initiatives at an afternoon White House event with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the first Senate-approved openly gay cabinet member.

Other provisions instruct the Federal Trade Commission to look into whether the phrase “conversion therapy” amounts to deceptive marketing and order the Department of Health and Human Services to draft a “Bill of Rights for LGBTQ+ Older Adults.”

A Biden administration official told reporters that the president will use the signing event to condemn recent legislation in Republican-led states that restricts the teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity. A Florida law restricts such topics in kindergarten through third grade.

President Biden will sign an executive order that includes several LGBTQ+ initiatives, marking Pride Month.
President Biden will sign an executive order that includes several LGBTQ+ initiatives, marking Pride Month.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

“This year, we’ve seen over 300 anti-LGBTQI+ laws introduced in state legislatures and many of them specifically target transgender children and their parents,” the official said. “Most importantly, the president is bringing LGBTQI+ kids and families from across the country who have been personally impacted by these discriminatory bills to the White House — kids from Texas and Florida who have seen their rights under attack.”

Critics of Florida’s law have dubbed it the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, but Republicans such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis say it has been mischaracterized. As a senator, Biden in 1994 voted for a much broader amendment that would have barred schools from using federal funds “for the promotion of homosexuality as a positive lifestyle alternative.”

The likely effects of Biden’s new executive order are unclear, since so many of the items are vaguely delegated to federal agencies.

The executive order will condemn the recent influx of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in Republican-led states.
The executive order will condemn the recent influx of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in Republican-led states.
MediaNews Group via Getty Images

For example, according to a White House fact sheet, the schools provision “directs the Department of Education to establish a new Working Group on LGBTQI+ Students and Families, which will advance policies for states, school districts, and other educational institutions to promote safe and inclusive learning environments in which all students thrive.”

Meanwhile, the foster parenting plank is assigned to the Department of Health and Human Services, which will be charged “with strengthening LGBTQI+ non-discrimination protections in the foster care system.”

“Although LGBTQI+ parents play a vital role in ensuring that every child in America has a loving home, and are seven times more likely to adopt a child from foster care, these parents continue to face barriers and biases in the child welfare system,” the fact sheet said.

The Supreme Court last year unanimously ruled that Philadelphia violated the First Amendment by refusing to renew a contract with Catholic Social Services over its refusal on religious grounds to serve gay and lesbian foster parents.

In recent weeks, Biden has warned that a leaked Supreme Court ruling knocking down federal abortion rights could threaten the largely court-established right to same-sex marriage and even lead to the segregation of gay students in schools. Justice Samuel Alito’s leaked draft opinion specifically says, however, that “abortion is fundamentally different” from issues like marriage and contraception.

The Supreme Court in 2003 struck down state laws against consensual same-sex sodomy. Justices in 2013 struck down a federal ban on recognizing state-issued same-sex marriages and in 2015 established a right to same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

Biden himself has a mixed record on gay and transgender rights. As a senator in the 1990s, he was one of 32 Senate Democrats who voted to federally ban same-sex marriage. He also voted for the legislation that imposed the military’s since-repealed “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

The order will attempt to ensure that transgender and same-sex couples have the right to foster children.
The order will attempt to ensure that transgender and same-sex couples have the right to foster children.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

As vice president, Biden in 2012 said he was “absolutely comfortable” with same-sex marriage — a remark widely seen as inspiring then-President Barack Obama to abandon his opposition to gays and lesbians marrying. Biden last year repealed former President Donald Trump’s transgender military ban.

Gallup survey data released in February found that about 0.7% of Americans are transgender. Another 1.5% are gay, 1% are lesbian and 4% said they are bisexual.



Source link

Author

Comments are closed.