13:23, January 28 64 0

2019-01-28 13:23:05


Your complete list of Democratic 2020 presidential candidates & their history on LGBT issues

We’re just a month into 2019, and already the Democratic presidential field is crowded with declared candidates, to say nothing of the long line of politicians dropping broad hints that they’ll be declaring soon.

So that you can follow along during what promises to be a busy primary season, here’s a list of the declared candidates, with their record on LGBT issues.

We’ll be adding to the list as new candidates (invariably) declare.

Pete Buttigieg

Resumé. Buttigieg graduated from Harvard and was a Rhodes scholar before working on political campaigns, including John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign. Buttigieg unsuccessfully ran for Indiana state treasurer in 2010. He was elected mayor of South Bend, Indiana, his home town, in 2011 and re-elected four years later. During his re-election campaign, Buttigieg came out as gay.

While serving as mayor, Buttigieg was deployed to Afghanistan for a seven-month tour of duty in 2013 as a naval intelligence officer in the reserves. Last year, he married Chasten Glezman at a church ceremony, followed by the couple celebrating at the city’s pride block party. At 37, Buttigieg is just two years older than the age required to qualify as a presidential candidate.

Record on gay issues. Putting aside the fact that he’s gay, Buttigieg doesn’t have much of a voting record–which isn’t a criticism. South Bend already had a nondiscrimination ordinance, the major law that a city can enact, when was he was elected mayor. Most of Buttigieg’s record is in the form of resistance. He came out in response to the state’s disastrous religious liberty bill and has been vocal in criticizing fellow Hoosier and former governor Mike Pence as a “social extremist.”

Julián Castro

Resumé. A graduate of Stanford and Harvard Law, Castro began his political career in 2001 as a member of the San Antonio City Council, becoming mayor eight years later.

His first moment of national attention came in 2012, when he delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. He joined the Obama administration in 2014 as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, making him the youngest Cabinet member. He stayed in the position through the end of Obama’s term in office. He was on Hillary Clinton’s short list of potential VP candidates.

LGBT record. Castro staked out pro-LGBT positions early in his career. As mayor, he served as grand marshal for San Antonio’s pride parade and successfully pushed for a city nondiscrimination ordinance. Castro also joined other big-city mayors in support of marriage equality.

For his support of LGBT issues, Republicans branded him “the lethal tentacle of Obama.” At HUD, Castro continued his advocacy; after his departure, he criticized the Trump administration for its policies, including its refusal to collect LGBT census data.

John Delaney

Resumé. After attending Columbia University and Georgetown Law, Delaney went on to found two companies, each of which ended up being publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange, In 2012, he ran for Congress in Maryland and was subsequently re-elected twice. He announced his candidacy for president in 2017, choosing not to seek re-election in Congress.

LGBT record. Delaney was a dependable supporter of LGBT issues in Congress, earning a 100 percent rating from HRC.

Tulsi Gabbard

Resumé. Gabbard is a four-term congresswoman from Hawaii. She served in Iraq as a member of the Hawaii State National Guard. She was vice chair of the National Democratic Committee, resigning in early 2016 to endorse Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid.

Her most visible act in Congress was meeting secretly with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad on a trip two years ago. Her repeated attacks on “radical Islam” have earned her a spot as a regular guest on the Fox News line up.

LGBT record. It’s complicated.

Gabbard is the daughter of Mike Gabbard, who founded Stop Promoting Homosexuality America 20 years ago, and successfully stopped when Hawaii from becoming the first state to legalize marriage equality.

Tulsi Gabbard began her career echoing her father. “As Democrats we should be representing the views of the people, not a small number of homosexual extremists,” Gabbard herself said as a state legislator. She also worked for a group that touted conversion therapy.

Just nine years later, Gabbard was among the Hawaii Congressional members calling for the state to pass marriage equality. She attributes her turnabout to her experience serving in the military. She currently has a 100 percent voting score from HRC and issued two apologies for her past comments after declaring her presidential candidacy.

Kirsten Gillibrand

Resumé. Gillibrand graduated from Dartmouth College and UCLA School of Law, beginning her career as an attorney in private practice. Eventually, she become involved in politics, successfully running for Congress from upstate New York in 2006.

When Hillary Clinton resigned from the Senate to become Secretary of State in 2009, Gillibrand was named her successor. She won a special election in 2010 and was re-elected in 2012 and 2018.

LGBT record. As a representative, Gillibrand was a sponsor of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA); as a Senator, she helped lead the effort to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Her voting record has earned her a 100 percent score from HRC.

Her position on marriage equality is emblematic of many Democrats who, in Barack Obama’s phrasing, “evolved” over time. Early in her political career, Gillibrand said she personally supported marriage equality but believed the matter should be left to the states. Still, she was an early advocate of marriage equality; by the time of her appointment to the Senate, she was one of just six senators who had given it their support.

Kamala Harris

Resumé. Harris is a native Californian, born to immigrant parents (her father is from Jamaica and her mother from India). She got her law degree from the University of California, Hastings School of Law.

Once she was admitted to the bar in 1990, she started a lengthy career as a prosecutor, first as an assistant prosecutor in the Bay Area, then as San Francisco’s District Attorney and finally as the California State Attorney General. She was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016. Her aggressive questioning of Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing earned her accolades from progressives.

LGBT record. Harris has been a long-time proponent of LGBT rights. As San Francisco’s district attorney, she created a special hate crimes unit focused on crimes against LGBT children and teens. She pushed for legislation to ban a gay/transgender “panic” defense and to ban conversion therapy for minors.

She vigorously opposed Proposition 8, the state’s anti-marriage measure, and provided legal arguments against it cited by the Supreme Court when it was overturned. When Proposition 8 was finally struck down, Harris presided over the wedding of the couple who brought the suit against the initiative.

While Harris has a 100 percent voting record from HRC, she has been subject to criticism for her opposition to gender reassignment surgery for transgender prisoners when she was attorney general. She now says she takes “full responsibility,” but was only doing her job despite her personal feelings on the subject.

“There are unfortunately situations that occurred where my clients took positions that were contrary to my beliefs,” she said. “But the bottom line is the buck stops with me, and I take full responsibility for what my office did.”

Elizabeth Warren

Resumé. Warren began her career as an academic, eventually working her way up to become a professor of law at Harvard. An expert in bankruptcy law, she was appointed to a Congressional oversight panel during the 2008 financial crisis, where she made her mark as the foremost advocate for the formation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (which Trump has been gutting).

She successfully ran for Senate from Massachusetts in 2012, defeating incumbent Republican (and Cosmo centerfold) Scott Brown. In the Senate, Warren positioned herself as a consumer advocate and Republican scourge.

In one famous episode, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell had her censured for quoting Coretta Scott King’s criticism of then-Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions. (“Nevertheless, she persisted.”) Warren handily won re-election last November.

LGBT record. Warren came to office pledging to be strong advocate for LGBT rights, staking out a stand for marriage equality before President Obama did. She has been a vocal opponent of some of Trump’s worst nominees, including Jeff Sessions, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. She was among 19 Senators that urged Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services to keep collecting data on LGBT people.

While Warren has a 100 percent voting scorecard from HRC, she hasn’t always been supportive of transgender rights. Much like Harris, she recently reversed her position opposing gender reassignment surgery for transgender prisoners, something Warren has said in 2012 was not “a good use of taxpayer dollars.”

Andrew Yang

Resumé. Largely unknown to the public, Yang declared his presidential candidacy in 2017, making him the first Asian-American to seek the Democratic presidential nomination. After graduating from Brown and Columbia Law School, Yang became an entrepreneur, working at a variety of small companies before becoming CEO of a Manhattan Prep, a test preparation service that was eventually acquired by Kaplan Inc.

He went on to found the nonprofit Venture for America, whose mission is “to create economic opportunity in American cities by mobilizing the next generation of entrepreneurs and equipping them with the skills and resources they need to create jobs.”

LGBT record. Yang’s primary focus has been to promote a universal basic income for all Americans of $1,000 per month, no questions asked. On his campaign site, Yang says that “the law should recognize and protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans individuals. I’ve always been pro-gay marriage; why should straight people have all of the fun? People are people and all love is beautiful.”

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