Stella Maxwell
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Kamala Harris, LGBTQ Ally, Exits Presidential Race

Kamala Harris

LGBTQ ally Kamala Harris has dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

“To my supporters, it is with deep regret — but also with deep gratitude — that I am suspending my campaign today,” Harris tweeted Tuesday. “But I want to be clear with you: I will keep fighting every day for what this campaign has been about. Justice for the People. All the people.”

“My campaign for president simply doesn’t have the financial resources we need to continue,” Harris, currently a U.S. senator from California and previously the state’s attorney general, wrote on Medium. “I’m not a billionaire. I can’t fund my own campaign. And as the campaign has gone on, it’s become harder and harder to raise the money we need to compete. In good faith, I can’t tell you, my supporters and volunteers, that I have a path forward if I don’t believe I do.” Harris had also not won much support in polls of Democratic voters.

Harris has a strong record of support for LGBTQ causes. In 2010, one of her signature issues in her campaign for attorney general was her opposition to Proposition 8, the voter-approved ballot initiative that revoked marriage equality in California in 2008. Both she and Jerry Brown, who was elected governor in 2010, said they would not defend Prop. 8 in court, and Brown’s predecessor as governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, had done the same. If Steve Cooley, Harris’s opponent in the AG race, had won and defended Prop. 8 (he had vowed to), it might have changed the ballot measure’s fate. As it was, the proposition’s supporters had to defend it against court challenges, and courts all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court agreed they didn’t have legal standing to do so, and because of that Prop. 8 was struck down. As AG, she went on to lead efforts to abolish gay and trans “panic” defenses in criminal trials. Harris also showed her support for LGBTQ rights as San Francisco district attorney; in 2004, when Mayor Gavin Newsom declared same-sex marriage legal in the city, Harris conducted marriages for same-sex couples (the marriages were later nullified, however). She established a hate-crimes unit in the DA’s office as well.

As a senator, Harris has continued to be a champion of LGBTQ rights. She’s introduced a bill to mandate insurance coverage of pre-exposure prophylaxis, the HIV prevention method, and she notably stumped Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh with a question on marriage equality during his confirmation hearings. She received some criticism for defending the state of California’s denial of gender-confirmation procedures to transgender prisoners when she was attorney general, but she has said she was duty-bound to represent the state and that she worked behind the scenes to change the policy.

“Our campaign has been about fighting for people whose voices that have not been heard or too often ignored,” she wrote in her Medium post. “We will keep up that fight. … And our campaign uniquely spoke to the experiences of Black women and people of color — and their importance to the success and future of this party. Our campaign demanded no one should be taken for granted by any political party.”

She also got in a shot at Donald Trump: “I want to be clear: although I am no longer running for President, I will do everything in my power to defeat Donald Trump and fight for the future of our country and the best of who we are.”

Harris received a shout-out from GLAAD as she exited the race.

Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur also issued a statement of praise: "Kamala Harris has dedicated her life to fighting for the people. From the battle for marriage equality to the struggle for safety and justice for our transgender friends and family, Kamala has always been on the front lines our movement, standing shoulder to shoulder with the LGBTQ community. She's had our back when we needed it most, and we'll always have hers. Kamala's historic campaign has already inspired millions of young people — young women and people of color, in particular — across the country. As a half-Black, half-Indian daughter of immigrants competing at the highest level, she has paved the way for future generations of leaders to run for office, too. Kamala represents the very best of the Golden State and what we have to offer — a passion for justice, a commitment to equality and an unbroken spirit. While we are sorry to see her leave the race, our hearts are filled with pride knowing she'll continue to fight for us in the United States Senate."

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