Hoping to replace an administration that he calls a “human rights disaster,” former Vice President Joe Biden told a pro-LGBTQ crowd in Columbus on Saturday that, if elected, the first thing he’d ask for is passage of anti-discrimination protections known as the Equality Act.
“You can get married because the Supreme Court now says that. But you can walk into your place of employment in so many states and be fired,” Biden told an audience of more than 700 people at the Columbus dinner for the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ rights organization.
He later noted that Ohio is one of those states.
“It’s got to change, because of the values we have to demonstrate to the rest of the world. It’s got to change because it’s just morally wrong.”
Biden, who President Donald Trump has referred to as “sleepy” and “low-IQ,” warned the audience at the Ohio Union on the campus of Ohio State University of pushback on the progress of the LGBTQ movement and correcting racial discrimination.
Biden criticized Trump for saying that there were “very fine people on both sides” of a 2017 Charlottesville, Virginia, rally that featured a crowd of torch-carrying neo-Nazis, white supremacists and white nationalists.
“No sitting president, Republican or Democrat, has ever uttered a phrase like that,” Biden said, in what was his first appearance in Ohio as a 2020 presidential candidate.
“Instead of full power of the executive branch to ensure justice, dignity and safety for all, this president is literally a bully pulpit,” Biden said, pointing to Trump placing restrictions on Muslims entering the country and separating children from parents at the Mexican border.
“The current vice president uses religious freedom as an excuse for discrimination … to deny LGBTQ Americans their basic rights. It is wrong and immoral what they’re doing.”
Since formally entering the race in April, Biden has consistently led in the polls over a crowded Democratic field.