READING, Pa.: Within hours of becoming the 46th President of the United States of America, Joe Biden signed an executive order implementing the Supreme Court’s Bostock vs. Clayton County decision and providing historic nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people. The Supreme Court ruling classifies anti-LGBTQ workplace discrimination as illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Biden’s executive action instructs federal agencies to ensure that federal anti-discrimination statutes prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, further broadening the protection of the LGBTQ+ community’s civil rights.
“Today was all about unity and hope. For those of us in the LGBTQIA+ community, it went even beyond that,” said Michelle Dech, Executive Director of the LGBT Center of Greater Reading. “President Biden’s immediate, unflinching action represents a victory and significant progress toward what we know is right—equity for all people, for all groups, for all citizens. Today, we moved beyond four years of marginalization and setbacks and once again turned our eyes to the future.”
President Biden’s first day decisions also included executive actions to reverse the travel ban targeting largely Muslim countries, protect DREAMers, halt construction on the border wall, and embrace policies that advance racial equity and diversity.
“Our civil rights laws protect LGBTQIA+ people, and President Biden is ensuring that those protections are unquestionable,” said Tim Gruesel, President of the Board of the LGBT Center of Greater Reading. “Our hope is that his action at the federal level will inspire local leaders to embrace these same basic rights and protections. Many in our local community do not realize that LGBTQIA+ people in the Reading area are still not afforded nondiscrimination protection, and what a relief it is to know your government is committed to preventing discrimination.”