CNN tonight hosted nine back-to-back town halls with 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.
The candidates took questions on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer issues from a live studio audience.
Here's the key takeaway from each candidate's town hall:
- Cory Booker: The New Jersey senator called violence against the LGBTQ community a “national emergency” and noted that he has proposed an “Office on Hate Crimes and White Supremacy." Booker said: "We live in a country where we still see regular, everyday violence and intimidation and bullying against Americans, because of who they are."
- Joe Biden: The former vice president spoke out about the need to root out discrimination, homophobia and the impact that a country’s approach to gay people should have on American foreign policy. Biden said in 2012 that he was “absolutely comfortable” with same-sex marriage, a comment that put him – at the time – ahead of then-President Barack Obama.
- Pete Buttigieg: The South Bend, Indiana, mayor said he would overhaul rules prohibiting gay men who have had sex within the last year from donating blood — recalling a poignant moment when his office led an annual blood drive. "So when I’m president, I will direct the FDA to revise the rules based on evidence, based on individual risk factors, and without regard to the prejudice that has driven the current policy.”
- Elizabeth Warren: The Massachusetts senator said she was wrong, in 2012, to say “I don’t think it’s a good use of taxpayer dollars” to pay for a transgender inmate’s gender confirmation surgery. "It was a bad answer,” she said. “And I believe that everyone is entitled to medical care and medical care they need. And that includes people who are transgender who, it is the time for them to have gender affirming surgery. I just think that’s important."
- Kamala Harris: The California senator said that she, as president, would make ending HIV/AIDS within a generation a priority, telling an audience that she learned about the impact of the impact of the virus from her first campaign manager. She also vowed to tackle homelessness among LGBTQ youth.
- Beto O'Rourke: The former Texas congressman said that conversion therapy, a widely discredited practice that seeks to change the sexual orientation of gays, lesbians and bisexuals, “should be illegal” because it is “tantamount to torture.” He said: "As president, we will seek to outlaw it everywhere in this country."
- Amy Klobuchar: The Minnesota senator said that so-called conversion therapy should be illegal because it “makes no sense at all.” Klobuchar also said she would recognize a third gender marker option on a federal level.
- Julián Castro: The former Housing and Urban Development secretary said, as president, he would make foreign aid contingent on how the rights that other nations afford to the LGBTQ community. He also called on his successor, Ben Carson, to resign over disparaging remarks the Trump appointee made about transgender people.
- Tom Steyer: The businessman said he would put measures in place to increase oversight over health care access to LGBTQ asylum seekers if elected president. "I think it's absolutely critical for the United States of America to treat people in a humane and decent fashion," he said.