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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.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

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

Go deeper

Updated 8 hours ago - Technology

From Malcolm X to "Free Britney," new media shapes the justice system

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

True crime documentaries, podcasts and social media campaigns are bringing new attention to real-world legal proceedings — and are often affecting the outcome.

Why it matters: New media platforms can instantly put a national spotlight on cases that have long been forgotten or buried under red tape.

Updated 11 hours ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.

Updated 11 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 Omicron variant cases identified in Europe, U.K.

People wearing masks walk in London on Nov. 25. Photo: Li Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images

Health officials in the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany announced on Saturday that they've detected the first known cases of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The discoveries come as the world scrambles to respond to concerns over the new variant, discovered in South Africa earlier this week.