Where Biden's 11 VP shortlist candidates stand on LGBTQ issues

The Presidential Election is less than 90 days away and LGBTQ voters and their allies could decide the election. In an op-ed in the Washington Blade, GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis contrasted Biden’s projected “short list” of vice presidential candidates with current Vice President Mike Pence, whose record on LGBTQ issues has been dismal. In the piece, Ellis spoke about making sure LGBTQ voters and our allies are registered, and pledged to vote, which you can do at glaad.org/action.

When LGBTQ voters are educated on the issues, GLAAD has found that 80 percent of the time they will elect a pro-equality candidate. GLAAD is ensuring LGBTQ people and our allies are trained and equipped to take action this election cycle. GLAAD is offering Election Engagement for LGBTQ Equality through the GLAAD Media Institute. Sign up for a free election training on August 19 here.

As Joe Biden nears the announcement of his running mate, GLAAD highlighted on Twitter where his top picks stand on LGBTQ issues.

Tammy Baldwin

Tammy Baldwin is an openly out Senator from Wisconsin and became the first LGBTQ congressperson in the US. In 2018, Baldwin was one of 20 senators who called on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to reverse the denial of visas granted to LGBTQ diplomats’ partners whose unions were not recognized in their home countries. Baldwin was also one of the senators to introduce the Equality Act in the Senate.

Tammy Duckworth

Tammy Duckworth is a veteran, former U.S. representative and current Senator for Illinois. Duckworth was part of the group that re-introduced the Equality Act in 2019 and voted in favor of an amendment in 2016 that would define gender identity as a protected class.. In 2017, Duckworth used her military experience to speak out against the transgender military ban and lended her support to the couple in the Masterpiece Cake Shop decision. In 2006, Duckworth allegedy opposed same-sex marriage in a failed congressional bid, but years later called the 2015 Supreme Court ruling “long overdue.”

Michelle Lujan Grisham

Michelle Lujan Grisham is the Governor of New Mexico and was elected to the position in 2019. Since taking office, New Mexico became the fourth state to allow gender-neutral sex designation on birth certificates. Last year, her office was pressured into removing a rainbow flag from outside its office in an attempt to avoid appearing partisan. A transgender intern also accused Grisham’s office of discrimination.

Gretchen Whitmer

Gretchen Whitmer is the Governor of Michigan and was elected to the position in 2019. Within her first week of taking office, Whitmer signed an executive directive that protects LGBTQ people in Michigan, and she recently vocalized her support for the Supreme Court decision protecting LGBTQ people from workplace discrimination. In her time as a Michigan State Senator, Whitmer: fought and successfully removed religious exemption from an anti-bullying bill; was one of the state’s first legislators to introduce marriage equality; and proposed legislation that would include LGBTQ people in a Michigan civil rights act.

Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris is a U.S. Senator from California and a former presidential candidate. At the LGBTQ Presidential Forum, co-sponsored by GLAAD, Harris discussed the California policy she was asked to defend that prevented inmates from receiving gender-affirming treatments and surgeries. As California District Attorney, Harris established an LGBTQ hate crimes unit and refused to defend Proposition 8, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman. Her plan for LGBTQ Americans focused on three areas: repealing Trump’s anti-LGBTQ orders; ensuring equality; and centering transgender issues. Harris introduced a bill in the Senate to ban the use of the gay/trans panic defense, fought for LGBTQ Americans to be counted on the census and called for an investigation into the death of immigrant Roxsana Hernández, who died in ICE custody.

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren is a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts and former presidential candidate. At the LGBTQ Presidential Forum, Warren vowed to read the names of every transgender person killed in the U.S. in the Rose Garden if elected president. As part of her presidential platform, Warren created a detailed LGBTQ plan. In 2012, she urged Barack Obama to support same-sex marriage and reintroduced in 2019 the Refund Equality Act that amended years of tax returns for same-sex couples who couldn’t file jointly prior to the 2015 Supreme Court ruling.

Stacey Abrams

Stacey Abrams is the former Minority Leader of the Georgia State House of Representatives and a voting rights activist. As a Georgia gubernatorial candidate, Abrams was the first major party nominee to march in Atlanta Pride. As minority leader, she opposed a religious exemption bill and co-sponsored the Fair Employment Practices Act. Abrams’ advocacy for the LGBTQ community dates back to the 80s and 90s when she protested for LGBTQ inclusion at a local church and created an LGBTQ student organization at Spelman College.

Val Demings

Val Demings is a U.S. Representative from Florida where she served as Chief of the Orlando Police Department for four years. In 2020, Val voted in favor of removing the deadline for the Equal Rights Amendment, remembered the Pulse shooting four years later and praised the Supreme Court’s ruling that ended LGBTQ workplace discrimination. 

Keisha Lance Bottoms

Keisha Lance Bottoms is the Mayor of Atlanta after being elected in 2017. Since taking office, Bottoms has: appointed Atlanta’s first full-timeLGBTQ affairs coordinator; launched the city’s first report on LGBTQ affairs; called for the ban of so-called conversion therapy and hosted the city’s inaugural LGBTQ opportunity fair.

Karen Bass

Karen Bass is a U.S. Representative from California. In 2019, Bass voted in favor of the Equality Act. To honor World AIDS Day in 2011, Bass did a 24-hour “tweet blast” about the impacts of HIV & AIDS. Bass supported same-sex marriage since 2010.

Susan Rice

Susan Rice is an American diplomat and former ambassador for the United Nations. Rice has advocated for LGBTQ rights on an international level by spotlighting Pres. Barack Obama’s dedication to upholding LGBTQ rights on a global level. Rice also condemned threats made by the president of Gambia against gay men.