President Joe Biden bashed a wave of anti-trans legislation from Florida Republicans, calling their efforts to ban gender-affirming care and enact other anti-LGBTQ policies “cruel” and “close to sinful.”
On Monday’s episode of “The Daily Show,” actor and former Obama administration staffer Kal Penn spoke with Biden about his support for LGBTQ rights.
Republicans across the country have deployed an arsenal of legislation against the LGBTQ community, including bills to ban public drag performances, block trans athletes from playing on school teams, and bar discussion about sexuality and gender identity in schools.
Florida Republicans, with the support of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, have targeted diversity efforts in school and expanded the infamous “Don’t Say Gay” law he signed last year. DeSantis has also attacked gender-affirming care for trans youth, and the Florida House has proposed banning drag shows.
“What’s going on in Florida is, as my mother would say, close to sinful,” Biden said. “I mean, it’s just terrible what they’re doing.”
The president also referred to the policies as “cruel.”
“It’s not like, you know, a kid wakes up one morning and says, ‘You know, I decided I want to become a man, or I want to become a woman, or I want to change.’ I mean, what are they thinking about? They’re human beings. They love. They have feelings,” Biden said, advocating for federal lawmakers to pass legislation that would counter restrictions like those being passed in Florida and other Republican-controlled states.
“You mess with that, you’re breaking the law, and you’re going to be held accountable,” Biden added.
Penn also asked Biden how he came to support same-sex and interracial marriages — both of which he signed into law.
“My dad was dropping me off [in high school]. I remember I’m about to get out of the car and I look to my right. Two well-dressed men in suits kissed each other,” Biden told Penn. “I’ll never forget, I turned and looked to my dad. He said, ‘Joey, it’s simple. They love each other.’ … And it’s just that simple.”