Biden levels accusations of ‘prejudice’ behind anti-LGBTQ laws

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President Joe Biden on Thursday offered a strong rebuke of anti-LGBTQ laws being enacted in state legislatures across the country.

“We have some hysterical, and I would argue prejudice[d], people who are engaged in all what you see going on around the country,” Biden said during a joint press conference with U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. “It’s an appeal to fear, and [it’s an] appeal that is totally, thoroughly unjustified and ugly,” Biden added.

The comments came shortly after the White House announced they would be postponing the Pride Month event that was set to take place on the White House South Lawn due the poor air quality in the D.C. caused by Canadian wildfires.

Biden was set to unveil a handful of new initiatives at that event, he said Thursday, including programs that strengthen physical safety for LGBTQ people and businesses; address civil rights violations against LGBTQ people; increase mental health support; protect LGBTQ children in foster care; and combat homelessness in the LGBTQ community.

Last year, state legislatures introduced 315 anti-LGBTQ bills, a number that has only increased in 2023.

On Thursday, the president also called out lawmakers looking to enact those laws.

“It's wrong that extreme officials are pushing hateful bills targeting transgender children, terrifying families and criminalizing doctors," he said.

The president also called on Congress to pass the Equality Act, which would extend federal anti-discrimination protections to LGBTQ people, and he promised to protect members of the LGBTQ community.

“LGBTQ Americans, especially children: you are loved, you're heard, and this administration has your back,” he said. “We are not relenting one single second to make sure that they’re protected.”