US President Joe Biden has promised to designate the Pulse nightclub in Orlando a national memorial.
The nightclub was the site of a massacre in 2016 that killed 49 and injured another 53 on a Latin celebration night.
On the five-year anniversary of the attack, the deadliest against the LGBTIQ community in US history, Biden said he would sign a bill to make the gay club a national memorial, pledging that the massacre “would not be forgotten”.
“Over the years, I have stayed in touch with families of the victims and with the survivors who have turned their pain into purpose, and who remind us that we must do more than remember victims of gun violence and all of the survivors, family members, and friends left behind; we must act,” said Biden in a statement.
“In the coming days, I will sign a bill designating Pulse nightclub as a national memorial, enshrining in law what has been true since that terrible day five years ago: Pulse nightclub is hallowed ground.”
Biden said that more must be done to “address the public health epidemic of gun violence in all of its forms”.
“It is long past time we close the loopholes that allow gun buyers to bypass background checks in this country, and the Senate should start by passing the three House-passed bills which would do exactly that,” he said.
“We must also acknowledge gun violence’s particular impact on LGBTQ+ communities across our nation.”
“We must drive out hate and inequities that contribute to the epidemic of violence and murder against transgender women – especially transgender women of colour.
“We must create a world in which our LGBTQ+ young people are loved, accepted, and feel safe in living their truth.
“And the Senate must swiftly pass the Equality Act, legislation that will ensure LGBTQ+ Americans finally have equal protection under the law.
“In the memory of all of those lost at the Pulse nightclub five years ago, let us continue the work to be a nation at our best – one that recognises and protects the dignity and safety of every American.”
Former President Barack Obama last week praised Biden for his efforts to protect the LGBTIQ community by moving to repeal Trump-era laws and signing executive orders banning discrimination.