President Biden urged Congress to pass the federal Equality Act during Tuesday’s State of the Union address after a number of states enacted legislation barring transgender female athletes from competing in girls’ sports.
”For our LGBTQ+ Americans, let’s finally get the bipartisan Equality Act to my desk. The onslaught of state laws targeting transgender Americans and their families is wrong,” Biden told a joint session of lawmakers.
“As I said last year, especially to our younger transgender Americans, I will always have your back as your president, so you can be yourself and reach your God-given potential,” the president went on.
The Equality Act, which would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to protect people from being discriminated against based on sexual orientation and gender identity, passed the House last year but has faced opposition in the Senate and elsewhere over concerns it would weaken religious liberty.
Most of those bills dealt with the controversy surrounding transgender youth playing sports consistent with their gender identity.
South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem signed a bill last month that bans transgender girls and college-age women from competing in female school sports.
“This bill’s about fairness,” she said at the bill’s signing. “It’s about allowing biological females in their sex to compete fairly in a level playing field that gives them opportunities for success.”
States like Florida, Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi have passed similar laws.
Passage of bills restricting transgender athletes took on new momentum after Lia Thomas, a transgender female swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania, began to break Ivy League records.
Thomas set a new record for the 200-meter freestyle competition last month with a time of 1:43.12, beating second-place finisher Samantha Shelton by more than 2.5 seconds.
The day before, Thomas won the Ivy League’s 500-meter freestyle championship with a time of 4:37.32.
Thomas swam for Penn for three years as a male before transitioning.
Some states have also enacted so-called “bathroom bills” that require locker rooms, showers and restrooms in public schools be separated by “biological sex.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed an order last month that designates giving trans children hormone therapy as “child abuse.”
The ACLU has sued Abbott on behalf of a woman identified in court papers as Jane Doe, who is being investigated by Texas Department of Family and Protective Services officials for child abuse.
The mom, who works in the agency, was placed on leave after asking her superiors for clarification about Abbott’s order.
Republicans have made legislation limiting transgender rights a large part of their campaign proposals for the 2022 midterms.
Sen. Rick Scott, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, released an 11-point policy blueprint last week for how the GOP will regain control of Congress.
One of the points addresses transgender people.
“Men and women are biologically different, ‘male and female He created them,’” the Florida Republican wrote. “Facts are facts, the earth is round, the sun is hot, there are two genders, and abortion stops a beating heart. To say otherwise is to deny science.
Post first appeared in NYPOST