O'Rourke outlines LGBTQ rights plan, end to transgender troop ban

O'Rourke outlines LGBTQ rights plan, end to transgender troop ban
© Greg Nash

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeTrump says he'll watch Democratic debate while en route to Japan 'because I have to' O'Rourke: Cash reparations policy 'stops the conversation' on the issue Biden leads among Hispanic voters in key states: polls MORE on Wednesday outlined measures he would take in the Oval Office to protect LGBTQ rights, including a reversal of the Trump administration's transgender troop ban.

"LGBTQ+ Americans have made incredible progress over the past decade, thanks in large part to the tireless efforts of activists and advocates — but too many LGBTQ+ people still lack protection under many states’ laws and the current Administration is encouraging rather than stamping out discrimination,” the former Texas congressman said in the press release.

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“We must ensure all Americans are treated equally no matter who they are or who they love," O'Rourke added.

Along with repealing the Trump administration's ban on transgender service members through executive action, the plan calls for Congress to enact the Equality Act and other legislation enshrining protections for LGBTQ Americans in federal law.

The plan would also improve the U.S. asylum and immigration systems for LGBTQ people seeking to come to the United States.

O'Rourke's announcement follows the release of a similar wide-reaching plan by Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandGOP lays debate trap for 2020 Democrats Gambling website offers bets ahead of Democrats' first debate New York doctor says marijuana should 'absolutely' be taken off controlled substance list MORE (D-N.Y.), his fellow 2020 contender, earlier this month.

Along with provisions covered by O'Rourke's plan, Gillibrand's would also enshrine language dealing with use of public restrooms by transgender people and would recognize a third gender at the federal level.

"The LGBTQ community is not a monolith with a finite set of needs, and equal rights and freedom from discrimination should be the bare minimum we accept," she wrote on Medium earlier this month.

"As president, I will do more than defend LGBTQ rights — I will stand shoulder to shoulder with the LGBTQ community in the fight for equality," Gillibrand added at the time. "We’re in this together, because LGBTQ rights are human rights."