Watch CBS News

Biden announces executive actions targeting anti-LGBTQ laws at White House Pride event

President Biden announced several executive actions Wednesday afternoon to address discriminatory laws and practices against LGBTQ children and adults, as a number of states enact anti-LGBTQ measures.

"The message is simple: Pride is back at the White House," Mr. Biden said at a White House Pride event where the executive actions were unveiled.

President Biden Hosts A Reception Celebrating Pride Month At The White House
President Joe Biden signs an executive order on advancing equality for LGBTQI+ individuals during a Pride event at the White House, June 15, 2022. Getty Images

They direct the Department of Health and Human Services to work with states to expand gender-affirming care and access to youth mental health counseling, strengthen non-discrimination protections in the foster care system, and clarify that federally funded programs cannot offer "conversion therapy," the widely discredited practice of trying to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.

"My order will use a full force the federal government to prevent inhumane practices of conversion therapy," Mr. Biden said. "This is the first time the federal government is using a coordinated response against this dangerous, discredited practice."

A senior administration official who described the measures didn't point to any specific use of federal funds for conversion therapy, but said the executive action will help HHS lawyers enforce any future attempts. 

HHS will also be charged with releasing "new sample policies for states on how to expand access to comprehensive healthcare" for LGBTQ patients, the official said. The Department of Education will be similarly directed to release a "full inclusion" policy at schools. 

On his first day in office, Mr. Biden issued an executive order clarifying that gay and transgender people are protected against discrimination at school, work and other areas. He directed federal agencies to review existing policies and regulations that prohibit sex discrimination, and amend them as needed to underscore that discrimination because of sex includes sexual orientation and gender identity. 

LGBTQ rights, particularly for transgender children and teens, have been a focus of Republican lawmakers, with states proposing limiting participation in sports, as well as discussions of gender identity and sexual orientation in classrooms. 

Sean Conlon contributed reporting.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.