In Speech On The Senate Floor, Durbin Defends The Rights Of LGBTQ+ Americans

WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today celebrated the historic progress made in protecting the rights of LGBTQ+ Americans.  He also called on his colleagues to remain steadfast in defending these rights against a tidal wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation being introduced across the country, particularly targeting transgender youth. 

“This weekend, cities around the globe, including Chicago, will be hosting their annual Pride parades.  It will be a chance to join together in celebrating the LGBTQ community and honor[ing] the history of the Pride movement,” Durbin said.  “Sadly today, even during Pride Month, extremist politicians throughout America are trying to rewrite that proud history.  Since the start of the 2022 school year, Republican lawmakers in more than 30 states have introduced bills banning or limiting access to books in our nation’s libraries and classrooms—many of these books focus in part on LGBTQ identity and history.  This is not a coincidence.  Because these book bans are not only an affront to the First Amendment, they are a shameful, deliberate effort to erase the LGBTQ community from the American story.” 

Durbin continued, “Well, try as these politicians might, the truth is you cannot erase history or progress when it comes to human rights.  You cannot erase the courage and sacrifice of Pride pioneers like Marcia Johnson and Harvey Milk, and you cannot erase our LGBTQ colleagues who have broken barriers and who are proving to young people like them that they are a vital part of our nation’s history.”

During his speech, Durbin also spoke about the hearing the Senate Judiciary Committee held yesterday entitled, “Protecting Pride: Defending the Civil Rights of LGBTQ+ Americans.”  The hearing included testimony from Dr. Ximena Lopez, a pediatric endocrinologist from Texas, who has provided gender-affirming care to transgender patients for more than a decade, but will soon be banned from treating her patients in Texas under a new state law.

“I want to salute the people who participated in yesterday’s hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee,” said Durbin.  “It struck me that there are decisions being made every single day across America by parents and families—life-and-death decisions and decisions that are critical.  We say to these families, you make the best decision for your child, but when it comes to gender-affirming care, many states have stepped in and said to the doctors involved and the parents involved, stop the conversation, you’re not going to discuss it with children who… need some help.  That is wrong.  Medicine and science should prevail, not prejudice, when it comes to transgender people.” 

Durbin’s opening statement from yesterday’s hearing is available here and questions for the witnesses is available here

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.