Schumer signals support for Biden’s LGBT agenda

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., speaks at a press conference in the Senate Gallery, Dec. 1, 2020. | Screenshot: YouTube/PBS NewsHour

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has signaled support for former Vice President Joe Biden’s LGBT agenda, specifically regarding transgender issues.

“Joe Biden said that on his first day of office, he will give transgender students access to sports, bathrooms and locker rooms in accordance with their gender identity in all federally funded schools. Do you think he has the ability to do this and do you agree with the decision?” a reporter asked Schumer at a press conference in the Senate Gallery Tuesday.

“I agree with the decision and I know he’ll check things out thoroughly legally,” Schumer replied. 

His comments come in the midst of two Senate runoff elections in Georgia, which would determine which party controls the Senate. The 2020 presidential election results are also still being certified though much of the media has declared Biden the winner and the U.S. General Services Administration has begun the transition process for the new administration.

A Biden administration and a Senate controlled by Democrats could pave the way for the passage of the Equality Act, which Biden has vowed to pass in the first 100 days of his administration. The Equality Act passed the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives last year but failed to pass the Republican-led Senate.

The legislation contains provisions enabling biological males who identify as females to compete in women’s sports and allowing transgender individuals to use restrooms, showers and locker rooms in accordance with their gender identity as opposed to their biological gender.

While Biden has touted the Equality Act as “the best vehicle for ensuring equal rights under the law for LGBTQ+ Americans, and will guarantee that LGBTQ+ individuals are protected under existing civil rights laws,” conservatives, religious leaders and some progressives have expressed concerns about the bill’s implications.

In 2018, the mother of a 5-year-old girl who attended the City Schools of Decatur in Georgia, explained that the school’s transgender bathroom policy enabled a young boy to enter the girls’ bathroom and sexually assault her daughter.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., said in a Fox News interview last month that if Democrats do gain the majority in the Senate next year, he would not support “ending the filibuster,” a tool that allows the minority party in the Senate to prevent legislation from moving forward.

Under current Senate rules, it takes 60 votes to overcome a filibuster, meaning that Democrats would have to secure the support of 10 Republicans in order for the legislation to move forward. Currently, all Senate Democrats except Manchin and just one Senate Republican have cosponsored the Equality Act.

A pledge to pass the Equality Act is one of Biden’s several sweeping promises to LGBT activists, a major constituency in the Democratic Party. His campaign has published “the Biden plan to advance LGBTQ+ equality in America and around the world,” which includes some actions he can take without congressional approval.

Earlier this year, Trump’s Department of Education sided with female athletes in Connecticut, finding that the state’s policy permitting biological males to compete in women’s sports violated Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, which was established to guarantee equal rights to females in the educational arena.

That move by the Department of Education came not long after Trump’s Department of Justice filed a statement of interest on behalf of three female athletes suing Connecticut over its policy allowing biological males to compete in women’s sports. The lawsuit followed victories by biological males in a Connecticut indoor track championship.

By taking the top two spots, the transgender athletes advanced to a regional championship, denying biological females the opportunity to attend and be seen by talent scouts looking to recruit athletes for colleges.

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