Unfortunately for Republicans, the vast majority of Americans still support LGBTQ rights.
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona on Friday described a slate of anti-LGBTQ laws and initiatives backed by Republican lawmakers in multiple states as evidence of bullying, and said the Biden administration believes they are "unacceptable."
"We know we don't like bullies, right? But yet right in our own backyard, it's happening. There are over 12 states that are passing or trying to pass legislation like this," Cardona said in an appearance on CBS Morning. "We need to protect our students, including our LGBTQ students and educators."
Cardona added, "We're sending the message that it's unacceptable to bully marginalized students."
The comments follow a meeting held at the White House on Thursday with Cardona, Assistant Secretary for Health Rachel Levine, and LGBTQ students and families from Florida.
The meeting was held in response to proposed legislation in the state referred to as the "Don't Say Gay" law, which would prohibit discussions about sexual orientation or gender identity between educators and students in classes from kindergarten through third grade. The legislation, which has been condemned by civil rights groups, has passed the state Legislature and has the support of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Writing in Vox, correspondent Ian Millhiser called the law "constitutionally vague" and said its unclear language could lead to teachers censoring their speech in the classroom to protect themselves from legal consequences.
The Florida law is just the latest in an onslaught of legislation and proposals from Republican lawmakers attacking LGBTQ rights.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has directed the state's Department of Family and Protective Services to initiate investigations of the families of transgender children, stating that providing gender-affirming health care to minors is "abuse."
Responding to Abbott, President Joe Biden said, "Parents who love and affirm their children should be applauded and supported, not threatened, investigated, or stigmatized."
Medical experts have said that the Republican crusade against transgender health care is not based on accepted medical science and that Republicans have used inaccurate and misleading information to justify these new bills.
The push has come even as national polling has shown the vast majority of Americans support LGBTQ rights. An April 2021 poll from PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist showed 66% of respondents backing gender-affirming health care for minors, while also showing 67% opposing prohibitions on transgender athletes participating in school sports.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.