Biden to call for protecting LGBTQ rights globally in memo

by Reuters
Thursday, 4 February 2021 18:36 GMT

ARCHVE PHOTO: LGBTQ activists and supporters block the street outside the U.S. Supreme Court as it hears arguments in a major LGBT rights case on whether a federal anti-discrimination law that prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of sex covers gay and transgender employees in Washington, U.S. October 8, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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By Alexandra Alper

WASHINGTON, Feb 4 (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden will announce a presidential memorandum on Thursday protecting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people worldwide, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said.

"It reflects his deep commitment to these issues both here in the United States and everywhere around the world. The United States will speak out and act on behalf of these rights as we go," Sullivan told reporters at a White House press briefing.

While a presidential memorandum is largely symbolic, Biden campaigned on a pledge to pass LGBTQ rights legislation known as the Equality Act in the first 100 days of his administration and to make LGBTQ rights a top priority.

His campaign pledge included protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination, ensuring fair treatment in the justice system and advancing LGBTQ rights globally.

Biden is expected to make the announcement during a visit to the U.S. State Department on Thursday.

Biden has already issued an executive order that extends existing federal nondiscrimination protections to LGBTQ people.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday said Biden "stands by" his pledge to sign the Equality Act in his first 100 days but noted that Congress would need to take action to pass a bill first.

(Reporting By Alexandra Alper and Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)