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WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — President Joe Biden claimed Monday it is “close to sinful” for Florida Republicans under conservative Gov. Ron DeSantis to work to prohibit the surgical and chemical “transitioning” of minors suffering gender dysphoria, and indicated support for a national law forcing every state to allow the practices.

Biden made the remarks during an interview with actor Kal Penn, who was guest-hosting The Daily Show.

“What’s going on in Florida, is as my mother would say, ‘close to sinful,’” the president claimed. “I mean, it’s just terrible what they’re doing […] It’s not like… a kid wakes up one morning and says, ‘you know, I decided that I want to become a man or I want to become a woman […] I mean, what are they thinking about here? They’re human beings, they love, they have feelings, they have inclinations. It’s cruel.”

“And the way we do it is we make sure we pass legislation like we passed on same-sex ‘marriage,’” Biden added, invoking the Respect for Marriage Act that forces all 50 states to recognize any two-person “marriage” recognized by any other state, which he signed in December. “You mess with that, you’re breaking the law and you’re going to be held accountable.”

The comments mark yet another hot-button social issue Biden wants to take out of the hands of individual states, following marriage and his similar calls to codify a “right” to abortion in federal law and pass the so-called “Equality Act,” which would force nationwide public- and private-sector compliance with LGBT ideology on scores of issues.

In contrast to the Biden administration, which promotes underage transitions at taxpayer expense as a “best practice,” Florida has taken a hardline stance against the controversial interventions. 

The Florida Board of Medicine has repeatedly voted to prohibit subjecting minors to puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, or transition surgeries, and DeSantis has pledged to work with lawmakers to codify the ban in state law (an issue which is expected to be tackled as part of the governor’s ambitious conservative agenda for the current legislative session).

Studies find that more than 80% of children experiencing gender dysphoria outgrow it on their own by late adolescence, and that even full “reassignment” surgery often fails to resolve gender-confused individuals’ heightened tendency to engage in self-harm and suicide — and may even exacerbate it, including by reinforcing their confusion and neglecting the actual root causes of their mental strife.

On top of those issues, experts outside the medical establishment further warn that surgically or chemically reinforcing gender confusion imposes irreversible harm on children such as infertility, impairment of adult sexual function, and reduced life expectancy, as well as the psychological toll of being “locked into” physical alterations regardless of whether they change their minds when they mature, as attested to by many individuals who “detransitioned” back to their true sex.

The issue is grimly illustrated in the story of Yaeli Martinez, a 19-year-old to whom “gender transitioning” was touted as a possible cure for her depression in high school, supported by a high school counselor who withheld what she was going through from her mother. The troubled girl killed herself after trying to live as a man for three years.

Now in his second term, DeSantis has established a record as arguably the most proactive conservative governor in the nation, which has generated significant interest in him as a possible candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024. Speculation persists as to whether Biden will run for reelection given his advanced age and signs of decline, but calling out DeSantis appears to indicate he sees the Florida governor as a potential rival.