Kamala Harris is the first sitting VP to have marched in an LGBTQ pride parade

ice President Kamala Harris and husband Doug Emhoff join marchers for the Capital Pride Parade on June 12, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Vice President Kamala Harris and husband Doug Emhoff join marchers for the Capital Pride Parade on June 12, 2021 in Washington, DC.

  • Vice President Kamala Harris participated in a Pride parade in Washington, DC, on Saturday.
  • She and second gentleman Doug Emhoff greeted marchers and wore “love is love” and “love first” shirts.
  • Harris called for the Senate to pass the Equality Act, which passed in the House earlier this year.
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Kamala Harris on Saturday became the first sitting vice president to have marched in a pride parade.

She and husband Doug Emhoff attended the Capital Pride Walk in Washington, DC. Harris wore a shirt with the slogan “love is love” imprinted on it, while Emhoff’s said “love first” 11 times in multiple colors, resembling a rainbow.

“Happy Pride,” Harris told other marchers, according to WRC-TV, an affiliate of NBC News.

She also called for the government to pass the Equality Act, which would ensure federal protections for LGBT people. So far, the House has passed the Equality Act, but it’s unclear whether the Senate will take it up. Harris also issued words of support for trans people.

“We need to make sure that our transgender community and our youth are all protected. We need, still, protections around employment and housing,” Harris said, according to WRC-TV. “There is so much more work to do, and I know we are committed.”

In numerous remarks, the Biden-Harris administration has indicated the LGBT community has its full government support.

Earlier in June, for example, in recognition of pride, the White House said “no one should face discrimination or harassment because of who they are or whom they love.”

“The President has the back of LGBTQ+ people across the country and will continue fighting for full equality for every American – including through continuing to urge the U.S. Senate to pass the Equality Act and provide overdue civil rights protections to LGBTQ+ people and families across the country,” the White House statement continued.

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Virginia is the first southern state to ban the ‘trans panic’ defense that previously gave lighter sentences to assailants claiming to react to someone’s gender identity

AP ralph northam
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam.

  • Virginia passed a bill nullifying the “gay/trans panic defense” on Wednesday.
  • The defense has traditionally been used in murder and assault cases against LGBT victims.
  • Virginia, with Gov. Ralph Northam signing the bill, is the first southern state to ban its use.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed a bill Wednesday invalidating the “gay/trans panic” defense, which lawyers have previously used as an excuse to secure lighter sentences for people facing homicide charges.

Prior to the bill’s passing, people accused of violent crimes could claim panic as a defense, saying they reacted to a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill nullifies that argument in murder and assault cases.

A dozen other states have already banned the defense. Virginia, with Northam signing the bill, has become the first southern state to do so.

Virginia’s state House and Senate passed the bill in February, sending it over to Northam’s office.

Democratic Delegate Danica Roem originally wrote and sponsored the Virginia bill. Roem is one of four openly trans legislators in the country.

Roem said in an interview with NBC News that she hopes other states will follow Virginia’s lead.

“I hope that as a region, the Mid-Atlantic can really tell people that you are welcome here because of who you are, and we will protect you here because of who you are,” Roem said.

Lawyers from the National LGBT Bar Association say the defense has traditionally been used in three distinct ways:

  • A defendant claims that a victim “triggered a nervous breakdown” due to that person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • A defendant claims that a victim’s proposition was “sufficiently ‘provocative’ to induce the defendant to kill the victim.
  • A defendant claims that “they believed that the victim, because of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression, was about to cause the defendant serious bodily harm. This defense is offensive and harmful because it argues that a person’s gender or sexual identity makes them more of a threat to safety,” the National LGBT Bar Association said.

Research shows that more than 1 out of 4 trans people will experience a hate crime in their lifetime.

The bill comes amid a surge of anti-trans bills being considered in state legislatures across the country this year. Insider previously reported that 28 states are voting on anti-trans legislation in 2021.

Most recently,Arkansas became the first state to pass a bill prohibiting doctors from providing gender-affirming medical care to transgender youth following a Monday state Senate vote.

The bill would prohibit doctors from offering gender-confirming hormone treatment or surgery to trans minors. Doctors would also be unable to refer minors to other providers for treatment.

The legislation now goes to Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s desk for signature. He is expected to either sign or veto the bill early next week.

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Arkansas governor’s new ‘medical conscience objections’ law could result in LGBTQ+ people being refused treatment, human rights group says

asa hutchinson arkansas governor
Governor Asa Hutchinson (R-AK) appears on “Meet the Press” in Washington, D.C., Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019. (

  • Gov. Hutchinson has signed a law that allows medics to refuse treatment because of moral objections.
  • It could lead to LGBTQ+ patients being discriminated against, a human rights group told AP.
  • Arkansas’s governor is also facing criticism for new legislation on transgender women in sport.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas signed in new legislation on Friday that allows medical professionals to refuse to treat patients because of religious or moral objections, the Associated Press reported.

The new law says that doctors and healthcare institutions can object to participating in non-emergency treatments that violate their conscience, the news agency said.

It will come into effect in the late summer, according to AP.

Read more: Biden gets busy reversing Trump-era restrictions on gender and reproductive rights. His policies are even more progressive than past Democratic presidents.

The legislation is facing fierce opposition from human rights activists who say that LGBTQ+ individuals could be denied treatment.

Critics have said that it could lead to doctors refusing to treat transgender patients or provide grief counseling for same-sex couples, AP said. It could also lead to women being denied prescriptions for birth control, according to the news agency.

“There is no sugarcoating this: this bill is another brazen attempt to make it easier to discriminate against people and deny Arkansans the health care services they need,” ACLU Arkansas’s executive director Holly Dickinson said in a statement to AP.

Hutchinson is insisting that the legislation will not breach federal discrimination laws.

“I support this right of conscience so long as emergency care is exempted and conscience objection cannot be used to deny general health service to any class of people,” the governor said in a statement. “Most importantly, the federal laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, sex, gender, and national origin continue to apply to the delivery of health care services.”

Hutchinson is also facing backlash for signing a law on Thursday that would ban transgender women and girls from competing in sports consistent with their gender identity.

Alphonso David, the president of the LGBTQ+ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign, criticized the legislation in a statement.

“Governor Hutchinson’s eagerness to sign this discriminatory legislation is an affront not just to the transgender kids it is bound to hurt but to all Arkansans who will be impacted by its consequences,” David wrote.

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