President Joe Biden criticized Florida’s regulation of transgender medical care for children and ban on gender ideology in the classroom, calling the measures “close to sinful.”
Biden said in an interview with Daily Show guest host Kal Penn: “What’s going on in Florida is, as my mother would say, close to sinful. I mean it’s just terrible what they’re doing.”
Although the president did not specify which laws he was referring to, Republican lawmakers in Florida and other states have introduced bills and regulations to protect children from transgender medical interventions and restrict classroom instruction in gender ideology.
During his interview, Biden added that federal legislation might be necessary to prevent states from adopting certain bills that affect transgender policies related to children.
“It’s not like, you know, a kid wakes up one morning and says, ‘You know, I decided I want to become a man or I want to become a woman,” the president said. “I mean, what are they thinking about here? They’re human beings, they love and have feelings. … It’s cruel. We [should] make sure we pass [federal] legislation like we passed on same-sex marriage. You mess with that, you’re breaking the law and you’re going to be held accountable.”
In Florida, a ban on transgender surgeries and medications for children, issued by the state’s Board of Medicine, goes into effect March 16. Lawmakers have also proposed legislation banning transgender medical procedures.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed legislation that prevents schools from promoting gender ideology through discussions of transgenderism and sexual orientation to young children in kindergarten through third grade. The legislation requires such discussions in later grades to be age appropriate.
Other states, such as Mississippi, Utah, and South Dakota, have adopted similar legislation to ban sex change operations for children. Most states do not restrict sex change surgery for minors at this time.
Although Biden, the nation’s second Catholic president, called the Florida bills “close to sinful,” his interpretation sets him on the opposite side of the issue from the Vatican and Pope Francis.
The Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education on June 10, 2019, published a document titled “Male and Female He Created Them,” which rejects the idea that a person can choose his or her gender.
“There is a need to reaffirm the metaphysical roots of sexual difference, as an anthropological refutation of attempts to negate the male-female duality of human nature, from which the family is generated,” the 31-page document states.
“The denial of this duality not only erases the vision of human beings as the fruit of an act of creation but creates the idea of the human person as a sort of abstraction who ‘chooses for himself what his nature is to be,’” the document continues, citing Pope Benedict’s Dec. 21, 2012, address to the Roman Curia.
“Man and woman in their created state as complementary versions of what it means to be human are disputed. But if there is no pre-ordained duality of man and woman in creation, then neither is the family any longer a reality established by creation. Likewise, the child has lost the place he had occupied hitherto and the dignity pertaining to him,” it continued.
Pope Francis has consistently voiced his opposition to what he calls gender ideology.
In an interview on March 10 with the Argentine daily newspaper La Nación, just three days before Biden’s interview aired, the pontiff referred to gender ideology as “one of the most dangerous ideological colonizations.”
“Why is it dangerous?” Pope Francis said. “Because it blurs differences and the value of men and women. All humanity is the tension of differences. It is to grow through the tension of differences. The question of gender is diluting the differences and making the world the same, all dull, all alike, and that is contrary to the human vocation.”
This is not the only issue on which Biden has strayed from the Catholic faith. During the president’s interview on the Daily Show, he reiterated his support for same-sex marriage and defended his support for the Respect for Marriage Act, which federally recognizes same-sex marriage. The president has also been a staunch supporter of abortion and urged Congress to codify the Roe v. Wade abortion rules into federal law.