Cory Booker has entered the 2020 Presidential race — but where does he stand on LGBTQ+ rights?
The junior Senator from new Jersey announced that he will seek the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination Friday morning in 2020, Al Jazeera reports. He enters an already crowded field, with previously announced candidates Julian Castro, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Tulsi Gabbard, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, and more trying to unseat presumed Republican nominee President Donald Trump.
"The history of our nation is defined by collective action, by interwoven destinies of slaves and abolitionists, of those born here and those who chose America as home, of those who took up arms to defend our country, and those who linked arms to challenge and change it," Booker said in a Twitter video announcing his campaign. "I'm Cory Booker and I'm running for president of the United States of America."
Booker, who is straight, has a pretty solid record on all of the major LGBTQ+ issues. He supported same-sex marriage at least as far back as 2012 — years before it was legal in the U.S. — and when New Jersey legalized same-sex marriage in 2013, Booker officiated the very first same-sex wedding ceremonies in the state.
“Tonight we have crossed a barrier,” he said at the time. “While you all have fallen into love, the truth is the state of New Jersey has risen to love.”
As a senator, Booker introduced a bill that seeks to reintroduce lapsed bans on conversion therapy, and he supported Senator Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All bill, which would expand queer and trans people’s access to life-saving medical care if passed. He also grilled Trump appointees Jeff Sessions and Mike Pompeo on their anti-LGBTQ+ records during their respective nomination processes.
Booker’s record on sex worker rights — which, given the crossover between the sex work and LGBTQ+ communities, should be considered in any analysis of a candidate’s LGBTQ+ record — isn’t so great, however. In 2018, he voted for FOSTA-SESTA, a bill package that aimed to curb online sex trafficking but thus far has only prompted Craigslist to shut down its personals section, which many sex workers used to advertise their services, and a number of other websites to censor queer content. He’s not unique in this respect — fellow Democratic candidates Harris, Warren, and Gillibrand also voted for FOSTA-SESTA — but it’s worth noting, nonetheless.
The Senator also has a less than than savory history with charter schools and corporate donors, though that’s not necessarily bad for LGBTQ+ people so much as it is bad for everyone, depending on how far left your political compass lands.