WATCH: Booker Blasts Opponent For 'Guy' Versus 'Gay' Jibe

8.30.2013

By Andrew Belonsky

Booker does not appreciate GOP rival saying gay men aren't real guys.

Rather than being about policy and issues, the special Senate election in New Jersey has become about Democratic candidate Cory Booker's sexuality. This conversation began when the Washington Post asked Booker, the Newark Mayor and an outspoken advocate for equality, whether it bothers him when people say he's gay. It doesn't. On the contrary, Booker thinks it's kind of "wonderful."

"People who think I’m gay, some part of me thinks it’s wonderful," he said. "Because I want to challenge people on their homophobia. I love seeing on Twitter when someone says I’m gay, and I say, ‘So what does it matter if I am? So be it. I hope you are not voting for me because you are making the presumption that I’m straight.'"

Steven Lonegan, Booker's GOP opponent and a true longshot in this race to replace late Senator Frank Lautenber, said the Democrat's response was "weird." A straight man should want to be known as straight, because straight guys are guys, and gay guys are not: "As a guy, I personally like being a guy."

Booker was asked about Lonegan's offensive remark during an appearance on Chris Hayes's MSNBC show last night, and basically Booker, who is very straight, told Hayes that the issue here isn't whether a gay person should come out as gay. Instead, the main point should be Lonegan's remarks themselves, particularly his claim that gays aren't guys.

"We need to stop in America talking about anybody in a public realm, besides what is important — the content of their character, the quality of their ideas, the courage within their hearts to serve others,” said Booker. He then went on, "And so here we have an opponent that is trying to say god-awful things, literally saying, 'Well, I believe a guy should be a guy,’ almost like saying that you are not a man, you are not a man if you’re gay. I mean, that is so extreme, let’s shine lights on that for a second.”

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