Warren, Buttigieg unveil LGBTQ rights plans

Elizabeth Warren

(Bloomberg) ⁠— Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg each released plans aimed at advancing LGBTQ rights hours before they’re set to participate in a Human Rights Campaign Foundation town hall on the subject.

Buttigieg, who would be the first openly gay U.S. president, said he plans to use his own story to “tear down the walls that have excluded far too many LGBTQ+ people for far too long.”

In a video announcement, the South Bend, Indiana, mayor recounted how he was able to leave his husband, Chasten, at his mother’s hospital bedside last year to tell his father, who was receiving chemotherapy at the time, that his mother needed immediate heart surgery.

“I wanted to tell him in person, and I was only able to do that because I knew Chasten could stay at my mom’s side,” Buttigieg said. “In the eyes of the hospital, in the eyes of the state, in the eyes of the law, not just in my heart, he was a member of our family, my lawfully married spouse.”

Buttigieg’s plan includes seeking passage of legislation that would prohibit denying LGBTQ+ people jobs or housing based on their sexual orientation or gender identity and would require insurer coverage for “gender-affirming treatments” for transgender individuals. He also would seek increased benefits for veterans discharged from the U.S. military for being members of LGBTQ+ community.

Warren also backs passage of that legislation, known as the Equality Act. In addition, her plan requires organizations that receive federal grants to prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ+ people. She said she’d give providers “discretion to deem gender-affirming procedures as medically necessary based on an individualized assessment.”

Booker proposes new rights for college athletes

Cory Booker wants to use the power of the presidency to ensure that college and professional athletes are “free from exploitation and harm.”

Under Booker’s plan, college athletes could be paid for the rights to their name, image or likenesses. Last week, California became the first state to allow college athletes to receive payment for playing.

Booker, a Democratic presidential candidate and senator from New Jersey, played on Stanford University’s football team as an undergraduate.

His proposal also addresses the gap between men and women’s pay. He said that as president he would sign into law the Athletics Fair Pay Act, which would mandate that governing bodies spots like the United States Soccer Federation compensate female athletes equally and fairly.

“Just as we shouldn’t accept collusion, wage theft, and a massive gender pay gap in any other industry, we shouldn’t accept them in sports,” Booker said in a statement.

He said he hopes to improve protections for college athletes by revising standards for their health and education. Athletes would be able to get a second medical opinion at no out-of-pocket cost, and colleges would have to foot the bill for sports injury-related medical bills. The Department of Education would be required to annually report on college athletes’ educational achievement. - Emma Kinery

Upcoming

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation will host a town hall at the University of California at Los Angeles devoted to LGBTQ issues on Thursday. Candidates scheduled to attend are: Warren, Booker, Buttigieg, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Amy Klobuchar, Julián Castro and Tom Steyer. Bernie Sanders, who has been recovering from a heart attack, also is scheduled to appear, but his campaign hasn’t said whether he still plans to attend.

The fourth Democratic debate is scheduled for Oct. 15 at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio. Twelve candidates are slated to take part: Biden, Warren, Sanders, Booker, Buttigieg, Castro, Harris, Klobuchar and O’Rourke, as well as Tulsi Gabbard, Steyer and Andrew Yang.

The United Food and Commercial Workers union will host forums in Iowa with Democratic presidential candidates on Oct. 13. Biden, Booker, Buttigieg, Harris and Michael Bennet have confirmed that they will attend.

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