[image-1] A Charleston-area LGBTQ advocate took the mic at Cory Booker’s town hall last night to ask the senator about his stance on improving the lives of gay, lesbian, and trans Americans.
Chase Glenn, executive director of the Alliance for Full Acceptance, addressed the 2020 presidential candidate during a televised town hall aired on CNN.
“Under the current administration, we’ve seen the rights of the LGBTQ community chipped away,” Glenn said. “Trump has banned transgender people from serving in our military, he’s announced plans to slash global AIDS/HIV funding in the 2020 budget, and his administration supports discrimination of LGBTQ people under the guise of religious liberty.”
“What will you do to right these wrongs and improve the lives of LGBTQ Americans?” he asked.
Booker, a 49-year-old Democratic senator from New Jersey, announced his presidential run in February. His announcement video included footage from a visit to Columbia earlier this year.
The candidate compared the struggle of LGBTQ Americans to those of black people in the civil rights era. He recited a popular quote by Martin Luther King Jr.: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
“This is one of the reasons why I fought so hard against Betsy Devos being the secretary of education, because she has gutted the civil rights division of the Department of Education, pulling back protections for LGBTQ kids,” Booker said. “We now live in a country where 30 percent of LGBTQ kids report not going to school because of fear, and most people would be shocked to know that — in the United States of America — in a majority of our states, people who post about their gay marriage up on their website, the next day, if they go to work, they can be fired just because they’re gay with no legal recourse whatsoever.”
South Carolina is one of five states with no hate crime protections, though Charleston recently passed its own law against hate crimes. Charleston, Columbia, and Mt. Pleasant are the only municipalities in the state that ban discrimination against sexual orientation in housing, public accommodations, and local government employment.
South Carolina ranks “low” in a sexual orientation policy tally compiled by the LGBT Movement Advancement Project.
Booker also touted his support for the Equality Act, a bill that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected classes in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, alongside categories such as race and gender.
The bill was introduced by Rep. David N. Cicilline of Rhode Island for the third time on March 13. It is co-sponsored by 237 Democrats and three Republicans.
“If I am president of the United States, I will reverse these decisions that Donald Trump made, starting with allowing transgender patriots to serve in our military,” Booker said.
Check out the full interaction between Glenn and Booker: