How will Democrats winning the Georgia run-offs affect LGBTQ rights?
With the Democrats winning the Georgia run-offs, the Republicans have lost control of the Senate. What does this mean for the LGBTQ community overall?
The run-off elections in Georgia were won in favor of Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock, both Democrats, against their Republican opponents.
This gives the Democrats a tie against the Republicans in the Senate, 50-50. in cases like these, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will have the tie-breaking vote.
What happened in the Georgia run-offs?
Warnock and Ossoff won against incumbent Republican senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue respectively in the run-offs, the first time Georgia has elected a Democrat to the Senate in 20 years.
Neither Republican senators running for election in Georgia drew a majority in the last election day in November, which forced them into run-offs against their Democratic contenders.
One of the hotly-debated topics raised during the elections was of transgender rights. Loeffler had pushed the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act in September last year.
This legislation would strip Title IX funding from schools that would allow transgender girls to compete in sports based on their gender identity.
On the other hand, Ossoff said during a virtual town hall last June that he would address the violence experienced by transgender people in the US.
Democrats lead with the Georgia run-offs
The election results in Georgia will now prevent a Republican-controlled Senate, which could have blocked President-elect Joe Biden’s pro-LGBTQ rights agenda.
Among the top priorities of Biden’s agenda is the passing of the Equality Act, which would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination based on sexual identity and gender identity.
While the Democrats currently hold a majority in the House of Representatives, they passed the bill in 2019 but this was blocked in the Republican-led Senate.
Both Ossoff and Warnock have also committed to supporting the passage of the Equality Act.
LGBTQ rights under the new administration
Biden has also said that it is his goal is to pass the Equality Act within the first 100 days in office.
But even with the new situation in the Senate, Biden can push through LGBTQ rights through the powers of the executive office.
For example, he can lift the ban on new transgender personnel joining the military, which was laid down by then-President Donald Trump because of what the latter said was “tremendous medical costs and disruption.”
LGBTQ activists also called on the incoming Biden-Harris administration to pass a federal law banning conversion therapy, the controversial treatment that aims to change sexual orientation or gender identity.