Two Democratic White House hopefuls—Sen. Elizabeth Warren and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the first openly gay man to seek his party’s nomination for president—released their respective policy plans to safeguard and enhance the rights of LGBTQ people ahead of a Thursday night town hall on LGBTQ issues.
“No matter what happens at the Supreme Court, we need a president who will lift up the voices of every LGBTQ+ person, stand up to discrimination, and fight back. And as president, I will fight shoulder to shoulder with them.”
—Sen. Elizabeth Warren
Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat who became her party’s new frontrunner in the presidential primary on Tuesday, and Buttigieg are among nine 2020 candidates scheduled to participate in the town hall hosted by CNN and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.
In Warren’s announcement of her new plan, she noted that President Donald Trump has appointed two right-wing justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, who “could set LGBTQ+ rights back by years” with their forthcoming decisions on three discrimination cases for which the court heard arguments on Tuesday.
“The stakes are high, and people are scared,” Warren said. “No matter what happens at the Supreme Court, we need a president who will lift up the voices of every LGBTQ+ person, stand up to discrimination, and fight back. And as president, I will fight shoulder to shoulder with them—because no one should ever be unsafe, unheard, or disempowered because of who they are or who they love.”
The broad focuses of Warren’s plan are: equal justice under law; supporting LGBTQ+ youth and families; affordable housing; empowering LGBTQ+ workers; ending the criminalization of LGBTQ+ people; fighting for equitable, inclusive, and gender-affirming healthcare; ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic; fighting for LGBTQ+ rights in U.S. foreign policy; and improving LGBTQ+ data collection.
“In my first 100 days as president, I will use every legal tool we have to make sure that LGBTQ+ people can live free from discrimination,” Warren vowed. Her administration would, among other things, restore Obama-era nondiscrimination protections gutted by Trump, revamp overly broad religious exemption policies, limit Title IX waivers that allow higher education institutions to suspend LGBTQ+ students, prohibit discrimination against sexual orientation and gender identity in adoption agencies and the child welfare system, and institute a nationwide ban on “conversion therapy.”
As president, Warren would boost funding for training law enforcement on implicit bias, the investigations of police departments by the Justice Department’s Office of Civil Rights, and federal HIV/AIDS programs and research. Beyond U.S. borders, she said, “I will also continue to push for robust funding for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which funds vital services for individuals living with HIV/AIDs abroad, and repeal the Trump administration’s heartless Global Gag Rule.”
“As president, I will use my story, our energy, and the power of the presidency to tear down the walls that have excluded far too many LGBTQ+ people for far too long.”
—Mayor Pete Buttigieg
Part of Warren’s plan includes working with Congress to pass legislation such as Medicare for All, which she described as “the first step toward eliminating LGBTQ+ health disparities.” Warren also promised to fight to pass the Equality Act, which would amend the Civil Rights Act and other federal laws to better protect LGBTQ people from discrimination. The bill was approved by the Democrat-controlled U.S. House in May but is currently stalled in the Senate, where Republicans hold a majority of seats.
Buttigieg, as part of his LGBTQ rights platform, also promised Thursday to fight for the Equality Act, ban conversion therapy, review federal religious exemption policies, and enact policies to ensure LGBTQ people receive gender-affirming healthcare. The mayor set a goal of ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2030. Parts of his plan focus on young people, such as his proposed national mentorship program for LGBTQ youth and promise to work with Congress to pass the LGBTQ+ Suicide Prevention Act.
SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT