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The Latest: Biden tells crowd Equality Act is top priority

June 2, 2019
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Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden walks on stage during the Human Rights Campaign Columbus, Ohio Dinner at Ohio State University Saturday, June 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)
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Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden walks on stage during the Human Rights Campaign Columbus, Ohio Dinner at Ohio State University Saturday, June 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Latest on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden (all times local):

9:30 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden says the Equality Act will be his top legislative priority. The former vice president told a crowd In Ohio of his hopes of signing the legislation, which would enshrine LGBTQ protections into the nation’s labor and civil rights laws.

He made the comments in a keynote address to hundreds of activists at the Human Rights Campaign’s annual Ohio gala. His half-hour at the lectern ranged from condemnations of President Donald Trump to Biden’s emotional tributes to his audience and their personal endurance. Biden mentioned Trump polices such as attempts to bar transgender troops in the U.S. military, allowing individuals in the medical field to refuse to treat LGBTQ individuals, and allowing homeless shelters to refuse transgender occupants.

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While many of his Democratic presidential rivals are appearing before activists in California, Joe Biden will be thousands of miles away, headlining an LGBTQ rights celebration in Ohio.

Biden’s speech at the Human Rights Campaign event in Columbus on Saturday night comes on the first day of Pride Month.

The scheduling choice by the former vice president underscores Biden’s ability to campaign as a 2020 front-runner. He’s leading nearly all national and early nominating state polls, and that’s freeing him from any pressure to follow the paths of the other 23 candidates.

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