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 BidenDavis: Supreme Court decision is bad news for Trump, good news for Vance Teachers face off against Trump on school reopenings Biden wins Puerto Rico primary MORE is elected in November.

Rep. Sharice DavidsSharice DavidsDemocratic lawmakers call for expanding, enshrining LGBTQ rights The Hill's 12:30 Report: Fauci 'aspirationally hopeful' of a vaccine by winter WATCH LIVE: The Hill's LGBTQ+ summit featuring Adam Rippon, Rep. Sharice Davids, Chasten Buttigieg and more MORE (D-Kan.) and Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandDemocrats seek to tie GOP candidates to Trump, DeVos Democratic lawmakers call for expanding, enshrining LGBTQ rights The Hill's 12:30 Report: Fauci 'aspirationally hopeful' of a vaccine by winter 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.


“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 McConnellCongress pulls punches on Russian bounties firestorm Congress under pressure to provide billions for school openings Hillicon Valley: Facebook considers political ad ban | Senators raise concerns over civil rights audit | Amazon reverses on telling workers to delete TikTok 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 TrumpDavis: Supreme Court decision is bad news for Trump, good news for Vance Meadows trying to root out suspected White House leakers by feeding them info: Axios Pressley hits DeVos over reopening schools: 'I wouldn't trust you to care for a house plant let alone my child' 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.


“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 ButtigiegIn politics, as in baseball, it ain't over till it's over Biden campaign hires top cybersecurity officials to defend against threats Biden strikes populist tone in blistering rebuke of Trump, Wall Street 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.”