White House rehashes months-old “poison pills” statement in response to Taylor Swift’s Equality Act petition

Practically identical

At the MTV VMAs on Monday (August 26), Taylor Swift called on the White House to respond to the petition she started in support of the Equality Act – and it has, with a statement that is practically identical to one issued months ago.

The pop star brought up the petition while accepting the Video Of The Year award for ‘You Need To Calm Down’, whose music video ended with an invitation to sign a Change.org petition for Senate support of the Equality Act. “Let’s show our pride by demanding that, on a national level, our laws truly treat all of our citizens equally,” the video’s message reads.

The Equality Act, which was passed by the US House of Representatives in May, would extend civil rights protections to LGBTQ people, shielding them from discrimination in housing, the workplace, public accommodations and other settings, as Vox explains.

In Swift’s acceptance speech at the MTV VMAs, she thanked all who had signed the petition, which has more than 500,000 signatures and counting. That “is five times the amount it would need to warrant a response from the White House,” she said, pointedly looking at her wrist as if checking an invisible watch.

And now the White House has responded with a statement that, as Pitchfork points out, is practically identical to one issued months before.

“The Trump administration absolutely opposes discrimination of any kind and supports the equal treatment of all; however, the House-passed bill in its current form is filled with poison pills that threaten to undermine parental and conscience rights,” White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere told CNN on Tuesday (August 27). The statement is almost identical to one shared with NBC News in May, after the House of Representatives passed the Equality Act.

Swift’s video for ‘You Need To Calm Down’ won both Video Of The Year and Video For Good awards at the MTV VMAs. Her video for ‘ME!’ featuring Brendon Urie also won the award for Best Visual Effects. See the full list of winners at the MTV VMAs 2019 here. Swift also opened the award show with a performance of ‘You Need To Calm Down’ and ‘Lover’, the title track of her new album.

Earlier this month, the pop star opened up on her decision to become more vocally supportive of the LGBTQ community, as she realised she “had not made my position clear enough or loud enough”. “Rights are being stripped from basically everyone who isn’t a straight white cisgender male,” she told Vogue. “I didn’t realise until recently that I could advocate for a community that I’m not a part of.”

Swift also recently explained her silence on political issues in 2016: “I was just trying to protect my mental health – not read the news very much, go cast my vote, tell people to vote. I just knew what I could handle and I knew what I couldn’t. I was literally about to break.”