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Biden calls Trump admin "immoral" as he vows to protect LGBTQ rights

Former Vice President Joe Biden campaigns for president at a kickoff rally on March 18, 2019 in downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Former Vice President Joe Biden. Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden vowed at the Human Rights Campaign’s gala Saturday his legislative priority was preserving Equality Act protections for LGBTQ people, as he accused the Trump administration of committing "immoral" acts against the community.

“You can get married because the Supreme Court now says that, but you can walk into your place of employment in so many states and be fired ... It’s got to change, because of the values we have to demonstrate to the rest of the world. It’s got to change because it’s just morally wrong."

Why it matters: The Equality Act passed in the Democratic-controlled House last month, but it's expected to be blocked by the Republican-controlled Senate. Some conservatives argue the bill — which would amend a 1964 law permitting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity — violates religious freedom and nullifies women's rights.

The big picture: Biden opted to address the HRC dinner in Columbus, Ohio, on the first day of Pride Month, rather than attend the California Democratic Convention, at which several of the former vice president's 2020 rivals gave speeches.

  • During his HRC speech, the former vice president noted 5 black transgender women were killed this year. He said the fastest way to stop the violence was to "end the Trump administration."
  • Biden denounced the Trump administration for attempting to roll back LGBTQ rights protection.
  • He accused President Trump and the White House of having a "bully pulpit" to "callously" extend power over the most vulnerable, "implementing the most discriminatory policies like Muslim bans, turning away asylum seekers, putting children in cages."
  • Biden said Vice President Mike Pence was using religious freedom as an "excuse to license discrimination." "It's wrong and it is immoral what they're doing," he said.

The other side: President Trump tweeted on Friday that his administration "has launched a global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality." He invited all nations to join the effort.

"As we celebrate LGBT Pride Month and recognize the outstanding contributions LGBT people have made to our great Nation, let us also stand in solidarity with the many LGBT people who live in dozens of countries worldwide that punish, imprison, or even execute individuals...on the basis of their sexual orientation."

Go deeper: Joe Biden on the issues, in under 500 words