New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker, already known as a vocal advocate for gay marriage, stole the show at the Human Rights Campaign gala in Washington DC over the weekend with a passionate speech about equality.
Booker, who is straight, told the crowd: ‘I get into weird conversations with my friends. They say, ‘Why are you always talking about gay rights?’ I’m not talking about gay rights, I’m talking about human rights. I’m talking about my rights, I’m talking about your rights.’
Booker talked about history and lessons his parents taught him growing up about equality and applied it to the current political climate in the US.
‘The words of our founding fathers, ‘liberty and justice for all,’ are still aspirational as long as there is a person in this country that does not enjoy the same rights as their brother or their sister,’ he said. ‘As long as there are two classes of citizenship, we still have work to do.’
Booker added: ‘You cannot deny the rights and freedoms of others without diminishing your own.’
Booker also hinted at a possible run for governor of New Jersey in his closing comment: ‘I’m going to declare right now that the state of New Jersey – with all of the fiber of my being, with my allies left and right – that we will ensure that marriage equality is signed into law in the state of New Jersey. And when that bill is signed, I may have a very good seat for it.’
Earlier this year, the New Jersey legislature approved legislation that would legalize marriage for gay couples, but that bill was vetoed by Republican Governor Chris Christie.