Democratic lawmakers call for expanding, enshrining LGBTQ rights
© Bonnie Cash

Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday called for expanding and enshrining LGBTQ rights, steps they said won’t happen unless former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Obama to campaign for Biden in Florida Supreme Court reinstates ban on curbside voting in Alabama MORE is elected in November.

Rep. Sharice DavidsSharice DavidsChamber-backed Democrats embrace endorsements in final stretch Female lawmakers, officials call for more women at all levels of government to improve equity Trump asked Chamber of Commerce to reconsider Democratic endorsements: report MORE (D-Kan.) and Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandInternal Democratic poll: Desiree Tims gains on Mike Turner in Ohio House race Hillicon Valley: Facebook, Twitter's handling of New York Post article raises election night concerns | FCC to move forward with considering order targeting tech's liability shield | YouTube expands polices to tackle QAnon Democrats question Amazon over reported interference of workers' rights to organize MORE (D-N.Y.) were among the speakers at The Hill's virtual Pride summit, and both highlighted the need for action in Washington.

Davids told The Hill’s Steve Clemons that a Biden administration would advance LGBTQ issues and embrace legislation like the Equality Act, a measure passed by the House last year that has languished in the Senate.

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“One of the things that we should definitely do is make sure that we have a president that will sign the Equality Act, and I think a Biden presidency would lead to just that,” Davids said before taking a swipe at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi bullish, Trump tempers optimism | Analysis: Nearly 1M have run out of jobless benefits Trump casts doubt on hopes for quick stimulus deal after aides expressed optimism Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid MORE (R-Ky.).

‘It is unfortunate that one person has the ability to slow down so much good legislation,” said Davids, one of several LGBTQ lawmakers elected during the 2018 midterms. “I think that nationally people are supportive of equality, people are supportive of making sure that everyone is treated equally and not being discriminated against, and I think it would have a good shot at passing through the Senate were it to be brought up for a vote.”

Gallup poll released last June found that a slim majority of Americans favor the types of provisions in the Equality Act. About 53 percent of respondents said they believe new civil rights laws are needed to reduce discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Davids’s remarks come the same month the Supreme Court ruled that LGBTQ people are protected from employment discrimination under federal law.

Biden praised the ruling, calling it “a momentous step forward for our country.”

President TrumpDonald John TrumpJudge rules to not release Russia probe documents over Trump tweets Trump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Obama to campaign for Biden in Florida MORE, whose administration argued against the protections, said the White House will “live” with the court’s decision.

Gillibrand, a former 2020 presidential candidate, said Tuesday she hopes the recent Supreme Court decision can lead to similar protections in the military.

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“I am hopeful that my colleagues in the Senate understand that [those protections] should also apply to the U.S. military because we’re about to start our debate on the National Defense Authorization Bill,” she said at the event sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation and Philip Morris International.

Another speaker at the event, Chasten Buttigieg, who is married to former Democratic presidential candidate Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegLGBTQ voters must show up at the polls, or risk losing progress Buttigieg says it's time to 'turn the page' on Trump administration Sunday shows preview: Coronavirus cases surge in the Midwest; Trump hits campaign trail after COVID-19 MORE, said Biden should be commended for his support of the LGBTQ community when he was vice president and endorsed legalizing gay marriage.

“I’m grateful that the vice president was so vocal about his opinion then and I am grateful for all the growth that has happened since then.”