After a triumphant Wednesday night rally in Manhattan’s Washington Square Park, and sparring with Secretary Hillary Clinton in Thursday’s Navy Yard debate, Senator Bernie Sanders headed to New York’s ‘other’ park in the searing Sunday heat to be given an enthusiastic welcome in the leafy heart of Brooklyn.
Although at the time of writing, Senator Sanders trails the former Secretary of State by as much as double-digit percentage points in some polls, this failed to dampen the crowd’s enthusiasm. Reveling in a festival-like atmosphere, the crowd welcomed Sanders and a number of his high-profile supporters as they made their case for him take a seat in the Oval Office at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
With Senator Sanders being championed by progressive elements across the board, both inside and outside of the Democratic Party, LGBTQIA+ organizations and groups would seem like natural bedfellows in his bid for the White House.
However, as previously reported, one such LGBTQIA+ organization, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), has chosen to back Secretary Clinton as its candidate of choice. Considering HRC is the largest LGBTQIA+ civil rights advocacy group in the United States of America, its endorsement is quite the coup for the Clinton camp as accusations about her past support (or lack thereof) for Equal Marriage have been questioned.
Although Sanders does not have that particular feather of endorsement in his cap, his and his camp’s support of the LGBTQIA+ community was clearly on display in Prospect Park.
Celebrity supporter, Hollywood Actor Justin Long, voiced his solidarity with the queer community commenting at the event that he doesn’t “want to live in a country where someone in North Carolina can’t shop because of their sexual identity,” referencing the controversial Anti-LGBTQIA+ bill that has caused uproar across America.
Sanders himself spoke out in support of the LGBTQIA+ community at the rally, firing a shot at some in the Republican Party saying that “they believe our gay brothers and sisters don’t have the right to be married – I disagree.”
With both Senator Sanders and Secretary Clinton pledging to continue to support the LGBTQIA+ community in the form of a concrete policy platform, both Democratic candidates are, at least on paper, positive news for the community if elected in November.
Although Sanders was in strong form at the rally, the afternoon’s standout piece of rhetoric was left to César Vargas, New York’s first undocumented Lawyer, who claimed defiantly that “the political revolution is real and we are going to win.” Strong words, but as the queer community knows too well, winning is only half the battle. The fight for hearts and minds is a pitched and time intensive one. If Senator Sanders is going make a mark, Tuesday, April, 19th may just be that time.