White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre denounced anti-LGBTQ+ actions in the U.S. and abroad at Wednesday’s press briefing.
A reporter asked Jean-Pierre about a rule proposed at the Florida State Board of Education to expand the state’s infamous “don’t say gay or trans” law. The law, enacted last year, forbids instruction in public schools on sexual orientation and gender identity in grades K-3 and vaguely requires it to be “age-appropriate” afterward. The rule would take the ban through 12th grade, as would a bill filed in the Florida legislature. The rule has the backing of Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“It’s wrong. It’s completely, utterly wrong,” Jean-Pierre said. “And we’ve been very crystal clear about that when it comes to the ‘don’t say gay’ bill and other actions that this governor has taken in the state of Florida.”
“But make no mistake, this is part of a disturbing and dangerous trend that we’re seeing across the country of legislations that are anti-LGBTQI+, anti-trans, anti the community in a way that we have not seen in some time,” she continued. “And it’s not just the LGBTQI+ community. We’re talking about students, we’re talking about educators, we’re talking about just individuals. And so the president has been very clear, this administration has been very clear, we will continue to fight for the dignity of Americans, for the dignity and respect of the community, of opportunity that should be given to students and families in Florida and across the country.”
Jean-Pierre also spoke against the Anti-Homosexuality Act, passed Tuesday by Uganda’s Parliament and headed to President Yoweri Museveni for his assent, which appears likely. It would make same-sex relations punishable by death in some instances, an echo of legislation considered in the nation several years ago, and by up to 20 years in prison in other cases.
The Biden administration has “grave concerns” about the act, Jean-Pierre said. “This law would jeopardize progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS, deter tourism and investment in Uganda, and damage Uganda’s international reputation,” she said. “The bill is one of the most extreme anti-LGBTQI+ laws in the world. Human rights are universal. No one should be attacked, imprisoned, or killed simply because of who they are or whom they love.”
Same-sex relations are already illegal in Uganda. A bill providing for the death penalty in certain cases was introduced in 2009, but the maximum punishment was changed to life in prison before Parliament passed it. It was struck down in court in 2014 because of the manner in which it was passed, not because of its content.