CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Newark Mayor Cory Booker represents an ever-hopeful change on the horizon for many members of the Lesbian Gay Bisexaual and Transgender community.
Alongside Minnesota Senator Al Franken, chair of the Obama re-election campaign Jim Messina, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, chair of the Democratic Party Debbie Shultz and Second Lady Jill Biden, the Washington-born politician is more enthusiastic as ever as he looks forward on the campaign trail.
“It’s not a matter of if we’re going to win marriage equality in New Jersey, it’s a matter of when we’re going to win it,” Booker said to a room of more than 500 LGBT delegates. “And I know in my heart, if God-willing, I will be there on that day the bill is signed.”
Then, Booker mentioned that he may “have a very good seat when it gets done,” making a possible reference that he may be running for governor of New Jersey. If he does run for governor and is elected, marriage equality in New Jersey will be as good as enacted.
This is represents a small step in a grander plan towards what many Democrats see as the future of equality.
The LGBT community already has a lot of achievements to celebrate since Obama took office four years ago. The Obama administration has succeeded realing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ and modified policies making it illegal to descriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity. And this election season marks the first time in history that a major political party has officially put marriage equality on their platform.
Mayor Booker likened the fight for LGBT rights to the current fight for Hispanic rights as well as the fight for Irish, Jewish and African American rights in the past. Currently many policies make American residents second-class citizens by giving them lesser access to the goods and services that are made accessible to others.
“Hatred is hatred,” he said. “Bigotry is bigotry. We need to wake up America to understand that inequality is inequality. Every person who says ‘I’m a citizen of the United States of America,’ should have equal citizenship rights.”
According to Mayor Booker, the march Martin Luther King led was not exclusively for justice for African Americans but justice for all. With an increasingly excited room of delegate, gay rights activists and press, Booker admitted that a lot has been accomplished for LGBT rights during the current Obama administration, but a lot of work still needs to be done.
Currently, nearly twenty states still do not recognize sexual orientation-related crimes as hate crimes, which had led to a significant amount of suicide rates for those in the LGBT community and high drop-out rates from children due to intense bullying.
As more progressive politicians like Mayor Booker begin to take office positions, expect these statistics to become a thing of the past. According to Mayor Booker, the American dream has yet to be realized. But he as well as the other delegates present, believe that the re-election of President Barack Obama will catalyze the destruction of these social barriers.
“Those walls of bigotry, those walls of inequality will crumble,” Booker said. “Because I believe in a God that will let righteousness run down like water and justice like an ever-flowing stream.”
This article was originally published on Yahoo! News through the Yahoo Contributor Network which was shut down in July 2014. For more content by this author that was originally published on Yahoo! News, click here.