Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said Thursday his administration would protect transgender rights for Americans, including children, and work to ensure there is “zero discrimination” in the law.
The former vice president made the comments during a town hall in Philadelphia hosted by ABC News and was responding to a question from a woman who said she is the mother of two girls, ages 8 and 10
“My youngest daughter is transgender,” she said.
The Trump administration, the woman said, has banned transgender individuals from military service and weakened “non-discrimination protections.” She asked: “How will you, as president, reverse this dangerous and discriminatory agenda and ensure that the lives and rights of LGBTQ people are protected under U.S. law?”
“I will flat out just change the law,” Biden responded, saying he would “eliminate those executive orders” by the Trump administration.
“The idea that an 8-year-old child or a 10-year-old child decides, ‘I decided I want to be transgender. That's what I think I'd like to be. It'd make my life a lot easier’ – there should be zero discrimination. … And so I promise you, there is no reason to suggest that there should be any right denied [to] your daughter.”
The woman’s daughter, Biden says, has a “right to be and do.”
Biden was not specific about potential actions if elected, although his campaign website says he would “reinstate the Obama-Biden guidance revoked by the Trump-Pence Administration, which will restore transgender students’ access to sports, bathrooms, and locker rooms in accordance with their gender identity.”
“He will direct his Department of Education to vigorously enforce and investigate violations of transgender students’ civil rights,” the website says.
The website also says Biden would end the Trump administration’s “broad” religious freedom exemptions.
“Religious freedom is a fundamental American value. But states have inappropriately used broad exemptions to allow businesses, medical providers, social service agencies, state and local government officials, and others to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people. The Trump-Pence Administration has deliberately and systematically attempted to gut protections for the LGBTQ+ community by carving out broad religious exemptions to existing nondiscrimination laws and policies across federal agencies,” the website says. “Biden will reverse Trump’s policies misusing these broad exemptions and fight so that no one is turned away from a business or refused service by a government official just because of who they are or who they love.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.