President Joe Biden on Thursday blasted efforts across the country to roll back LGBTQ+ protections, referring to proponents of the restrictions as “hysterical” and “prejudiced.”
During a joint news conference at the White House alongside British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Biden said the administration’s fight for LGBTQ+ rights is “far from over, because we have some hysterical and, I would argue, prejudiced people who are engaged in all of what we’ve seen going on around the country.”
The American Civil Liberties Union is tracking 491 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced across the US since the beginning of the 2023 legislative session.
The ongoing wave of broad legislative efforts, largely led by Republicans, in localities and statehouses around the country to restrict LGBTQ rights and health care is “an appeal to fear” that’s “totally, thoroughly unjustified and ugly,” the president argued.
“It’s wrong that a person can be married in the morning in the United States and fired in the afternoon by their employer because they’re gay. It’s wrong that the violence and hate crimes targeting LGBTQ people is rising. It’s wrong that extreme officials are pushing hateful bills targeting transgender children, terrifying families and criminalizing doctors. These are our kids. These are our neighbors. It’s cruel. It’s callous. Not somebody else’s kids. They’re all our kids,” Biden continued.
The president also announced a slew of new actions timed to Pride Month aimed at protecting the LGBTQ+ community, including the appointment of a new federal coordinator to address the increase in book bans enacted across different states.
In March, the American Library Association released data documenting 1,269 demands to censor library books and resources in 2022, marking the highest number of attempted book bans since the association began compiling the data more than 20 years ago.
“You’re loved, you’re heard and this administration has your back. I mean it. We are not relenting one single second to make sure that they’re protected,” Biden said.
The announcement comes as the Human Rights Campaign – the United States’ largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer civil rights organization – has declared a national state of emergency for members of the LGBTQ community.
CNN’s Donald Judd and Allie Malloy contributed to this report.