Presidential hopeful Cory Booker pledges to reverse Trump’s anti-LGBT policies
Presidential challenger Cory Booker has pledged to reverse a number of Trump administration policies undermining LGBT+ rights.
The Democratic senator, one of 14 candidates who are seeking the party’s nomination in 2020, set out his commitments on LGBT+ issues at a rally in Davenport, Iowa on Sunday (March 17).
Addressing an audience question from a transgender woman at the event, Booker said: “When I am president of the United States, right away I will end this ridiculous, insulting, un-American ban on transgender Americans serving in the military.
“I will restore the protections from the Department of Education for LGBTQ kids, because 30 percent of LGBTQ kids report not going to school because of fear for their own safety.
“I will have a Justice Department that stands for all LGBTQ kids and their rights as well. But I’m going further than that.”
Cory Booker: I got hate calls for flying Pride flag
The candidate also spoke about his long progressive record on the issue.
He said: “You know, gay Americans and straight Americans marched for my rights [as an African-American]. My favourite author, James Baldwin, a gay American, proud and strong.
“I got hate calls, telling me they would never support me again, and I said, ‘Life is about purpose and not position. If I need to insult LGBTQ communities [to be mayor], then I don’t want to be mayor.’
“I refused to conduct one marriage in my city, because if everybody can’t get married by their mayor, then I will marry nobody. One of my final acts as mayor, when New Jersey finally caught up [with equal marriage], I made sure to marry couples in my state.”
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Cory Booker: My rights are cheapened if LGBT+ Americans don’t have equality
Booker added: “As a senator, I went right to work. It’s my bill to end the scourge of conversion therapy.
“I am an original co-sponsor for the Equality Act, because in most states you can get married but the next day you can get fired from your job with no legal recourse just because you’re gay.”
He continued: “Someone fought for my rights, when my family members were denied equal accommodations because of the colour of our skin, and so my rights are cheapened as long as there’s one American in this country who cannot get equal rights and equal justice.
“That’s the kind of President I will be.”
Many of the Democrats running in the primary have strong pro-LGBT records.
One contender, Pete Buttegieg, would be the first out gay man to become President.