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Biden urges Senate to pass Equality Act, defeat of anti-LGBTQ state laws

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Biden urges Senate to pass Equality Act, defeat of anti-LGBTQ state laws
In a statement Monday, President Joe Biden said that bullying and harassment of the LGBTQ+ community weakens the national character of the United States. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 11 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden on Monday recognized National Coming Out Day by calling for passage of the national Equality Act -- and the defeat of what he called "anti-LGBTQ+" bills in multiple state legislatures.

In a statement Monday, Biden said that bullying and harassment of the LGBTQ+ community weakens the national character of the United States.

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The Democratic-held House passed the Equality Act in February, which seeks to extend protections from discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation or gender identity. The proposal, however, is still stalled in the Senate, where Democrats need 10 Republican lawmakers to break a filibuster and support the bill.

Monday, Biden said the bill is in the national interest.

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"We must continue to stand together against these acts of hate, and stand up to protect the rights, opportunities, physical safety, and mental health of LGBTQ+ people everywhere," Biden said in a statement.

"From defeating discriminatory bills to passing the Equality Act, we have more work to do to ensure that every American can live free of fear, harassment, and discrimination because of who they are or whom they love."

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While the Supreme Court has extended some workplace protections for LGBTQ+ Americans, some supporters note that they still are not spelled out and codified in federal laws.

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"My administration is committed to ensuring that LGBTQ+ people can live openly, proudly and freely in every corner of our nation," Biden added.

"I am proud to lead an administration with LGBTQ+ officials serving openly at the highest levels of government -- and prouder that together we have made historic progress advancing protections and equal opportunities for the LGBTQ+ community."

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