Cory Booker is a Democratic senator from New Jersey — and a possible contender to run for president in 2020. His unmarried, single status as a politician has also led to persistent rumors that he’s gay.
In a recent interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, he addressed these rumors.
‘I’m heterosexual,’ he said simply.
Booker added, however, his opinion of political candidates is that they should be authentic.
He explained: ‘Every candidate should run on their authentic self, tell their truth, and more importantly, or mostly importantly, talk about their vision for the country.’
Booker served as mayor of Newark from 2006 to 2013. In 2013, the people of New Jersey elected him Senator. He has been serving in that position ever since.
Looking forward to 2020, his name is often at the top of the list of potential Democratic presidential contenders. If he runs — and wins — he’ll be only the third single person elected as President of the United States.
Previously, only Grover Cleveland in 1886 and James Buchanan in 1857 were elected as bachelors. Cleveland married in his first term, but Buchanan never did. His niece took on the role of First Lady and hostess of the White House.
‘Clearly the norms of family relationships have been changed dramatically as you’ve seen people across this country being elected to offices with all different kinds of family situations, including the president who has had three spouses,’ Booker said.
‘So I think a lot of that conventional thought on that doesn’t apply.’
He concluded that his next political race, whether for reelection as Senator or for president, he will run on ‘who I am’.
He is an ally
Who Booker is, is an ally to the LGBTI community.
When same-sex marriage became legal in New Jersey on 21 October 2013, Booker officiated nine weddings in city hall shortly after midnight.
A heckler yelled out ‘it is unlawful in the eyes of God’ during the ‘speak now or forever hold your peace’ part of the ceremony. In response, Booker simply stated: ‘Not hearing any substantive and worthy objections, I now will proceed with the vows.’
Before the state legalized marriage equality, he refused to officiate any weddings. This was his way of ‘protesting the painful reality that I could not marry all citizens equally’.
In 1992, he wrote about realizing the similarities between growing up black and gay for the Stanford student newspaper. A counselor at the school discussed the realities of people growing up gay.
‘It was chilling to find that so much of the testimony was almost identical to stories my grandparents told me about growing up Black. People found it revolting to share a meal with them and often felt it to be their duty to beat them so that they would learn proper living,’ he wrote.
‘In these efforts I have found another community with which I feel akin and from which I draw strength. The gay people with whom I am close are some of the strongest people I know — and their demands for justice are no less imperative than those of any other community.’
Earlier this year, he joined other senators in writing a letter to the Trump administration about keeping LGBTI health information on federal websites.
Politicians will likely start announcing their intentions to run for president in the new year.