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GLAD Heralds Biden Administration’s First Day Orders on Equity and Civil Rights

On his first day in office, President Biden issued a series of Executive Orders demonstrating the administration’s strong commitment to equity and civil rights. These measures include steps to reverse some of the most harmful policies of the last administration. They include reversal of the Muslim travel ban as well as measures to support DREAMers and to advance racial justice across federal government agencies and actions. In addition, President Biden issued a directive instructing federal agencies to prohibit LGBTQ workplace discrimination and to take all lawful measures to ensure that federal anti-discrimination statutes that cover sex discrimination apply in equal force to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

“President Biden has shown it is a new day in our country when it comes to civil rights protections,” said Janson Wu, GLAD Executive Director. “The President’s initial orders in support of racial justice, his executive order on ‘Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation’ as well as the explicit inclusion of LGBTQ people in a separate order launching a federal government equity initiative, will advance the cause of fairness across our communities. While our country’s laws still leave too many LGBTQ people and others unprotected in critical areas like access to public places and vital federally-funded social services, this order is an important step on the path toward justice. We look forward to working with the Administration, with Congress, and in our courts and state legislatures to ensure that all Americans are equally protected under the law.”

The President’s Order “Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation” instructs federal agencies to follow the June, 2020 Supreme Court Bostock ruling that the prohibition against discrimination because of sex in federal statute includes protections for LGBTQ people. While Bostock involved Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act, barring workplace discrimination, this order directs federal agencies to interpret any sex discrimination prohibitions to protect LGBTQ individuals. This has far reaching implications for areas including healthcare, housing, and education — all areas in which Trump policy had targeted LGBTQ people for the denial of rights.