- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke on Wednesday unveiled a plan he says will safeguard the rights of LGBTQ individuals and reverse “discriminatory” policies on the part of the Trump administration.

Mr. O’Rourke said he would immediately take executive action to reverse Mr. Trump’s move to ban transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military and the administration’s reported plans to allow federally funded adoption agencies to deny children to same-sex couples on religious grounds, among other priorities.

“LGBTQ+ Americans have made incredible progress over the past decade, thanks in large part to the tireless efforts of activists and advocates — but too many LGBTQ+ people still lack protection under many states’ laws and the current administration is encouraging rather than stamping out discrimination,” said the former Texas congressman.

Mr. O’Rourke also said he wants to protect transgender individuals, particularly “transgender women of color,” by stepping up Justice Department investigations of crimes against transgender people, bolstering law enforcement training on bias and ensuring safe housing for transgender people in federal custody.

He would also include LGBTQ people fleeing persecution based on their sexual orientation or gender identity as a “vulnerable population” for immigration enforcement purposes, meaning those people would have access to the U.S. asylum process.

He would also work with Congress to pass federal legislation barring discrimination based on sexual orientation and to create a universal health care system with bans on exclusions for “transition-related care,” among other priorities.

Mr. O’Rourke would also work with allies overseas to secure a global treaty that protects people from persecution based on “sexual orientation, gender identity, or sex characteristics” and establish a “Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTQ+ people” within the State Department.

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