President Joe Biden condemned Florida’s recent rash of anti-transgender legislation as “close to sinful” during a recent interview. Biden also suggested that trans rights should be guaranteed federal protection.
“What’s going on in Florida is, as my mother would say, close to sinful,” said the president on The Daily Show. “It’s just terrible what they’re doing.”
The comments from President Biden come as record numbers of state legislatures nationwide are introducing legislation to limit the number of transgender policies — ranging from keeping trans athletes from competing in girls’ and women’s sports to mandating that transgender individuals use the bathrooms that match their biological sex.
Florida will soon ban gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth, including forbidding doctors from prescribing puberty blockers, surgical procedures for minor patients, and hormone therapy.
While the president didn’t specify which rules were the most worrying, Biden said restricting transgender rights was “cruel.”
“It’s not like a kid wakes up one morning and says, ‘You know, I decided I wanted to become a man or want to become a woman, or I want to change,'” said Biden. “I mean, what are they thinking about here? They’re human beings. They love, they have feelings, they have inclinations.”
“It just, to me, is, I dunno, it’s cruel. And the way we do it is to make sure we pass legislation like we passed on same-sex marriage. You mess with that, you’re breaking the law, and you’re going to be held accountable.”
According to data from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a minimum of 385 bills targeting LGBTQ lives have been introduced across the country through March 7, which outpaced last year’s total of 306.
President Biden supports trans rights but has changed his stance from past decades
President Biden also continued to state his support for same-sex marriage and described seeing two “well-dressed men” kissing each other outside a Delaware office building when he was younger.
“I’ll never forget — I turned and looked at my dad,” recounted Biden. “He said, ‘Joey, it’s simple. They love each other.'”
Despite his fond memory, in 1996, then-Senator Biden voted to support the Defense of Marriage Act. The legislation defined marriage as only existing between a man and a woman.
Over the past few decades, Biden’s views have changed enough so that he signed new federal protections for same-sex couples at the end of last year.
Supporters of federal legislation say new laws are necessary to help parents and protect children.