Among gun control, universal healthcare, and affordable higher education, equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community is a hot debate topic for the 2020 presidential election--although some candidates seem to be less concerned about the issues affecting the community than others. As the current administration pushes for the ban of transgender individuals in the armed forces, the LGBTQ+ community is desperately searching for a candidate to turn to for advocacy.
Julian Castro has declared himself an ally, serving as the “grand marshal" of the San Antonio Pride Parade in 2009 and “joined mayors across the country in signing the ‘Mayors for the Freedom to Marry’ petition for same-sex marriage equality in 2012," according to CBS News.
Elizabeth Warren has also taken the position of political ally for the LGBTQ+ community and has supported several advancements for the community’s rights. According to the Huffington Post , she “praised Massachusetts’ recently passed Transgender Equal Rights Bill," and “voicing her support for the Employee Non-Discrimination Act, Warren called for a repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law against recognizing same-sex marriage," but it doesn’t appear that she has done anything other than praise or denounce other people’s legislations.
Kamala Harris spoke at an LGBTQ+ Garden Party in Los Angeles in 2012, declaring her support for the community. She’s also an outspoken advocate for criminalizing gay conversion therapy, stating that she doesn’t want to “promote any system that treats the fact that an individual is LGBT as a personality disorder" when answering questions for the Huffington Post .
Bernie Sanders seems to have the longest and most consistent background of support for the LGBTQ+ community. In 1999, he voted against an amendment that would have kept gay couples from adopting children in Washington D.C. and way back in 1993, he voted against the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell" bill that prevented members of the gay community from openly serving in the armed forces when it was first introduced. Senator Sanders has been advocating for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community in politics since 1972, and according to his campaign website, FEELTHEBERN , “as a plank of his platform, he proposed the abolishment of all discriminatory laws pertaining to sexuality".
With the longest record of advocacy and the most outspoken views on equality, Senator Bernie Sanders likely holds the most hope for the LGBTQ+ community. Unlike some of the other candidates, Bernie Sanders doesn’t seem to only share his views when prompted by direct questions. Candidates like Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren advocate for equality but don’t have a strong history of asserting their views, unlike Sanders, who was advocating for the community back when it was taboo to do so.