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Michael Bennet Endorses Constitutional Amendment for LGBTQ Equality

Michael Bennet

Bennet, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, is the first candidate to voice support for the move.

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet has become the first Democratic presidential hopeful to endorse amending the Constitution to guarantee equal rights to LGBTQ people.

Bennet made the comment Thursday on BuzzFeed News' AM to DM broadcast. GLAAD and the ERA Coalition have put forth the idea of expanding the Equal Rights Amendment -- a gender equity measure passed by Congress in 1972 but never ratified by the required three-quarters of states -- into the Equality Amendment, which would also cover LGBTQ Americans, people of color, and people with disabilities.

"I believe, unlike Donald Trump, that pluralism and diversity are fundamental strengths of America," the senator from Colorado said in answer to a query about the issue. "The more pluralistic we are, the more vantage points and viewpoints that we have, the more life experiences that we have, and the more people actually have a chance to participate meaningfully in the democracy, the stronger our democracy becomes. And I think that has been true since the very founding of the country, when we were not a very diverse democracy, until today, and that's the work that's still ahead of us. I actually don't think Donald Trump has any appreciation of that at all." When Trump talks about making America great again, it's always about going backward, Bennet added.

He said he didn't know if other candidates would favor the Equality Amendment, but he suggested they appear on the show.

Bennet's campaign later issued a clarification, saying that while he is open to this idea, his priority is passing the Equality Act, an LGBTQ-inclusive civil rights bill that has already passed the House but has yet to be considered in the Senate.

GLAAD praised Bennet's comments. "Even after years of hard-fought progress, marginalized communities are not guaranteed comprehensive and full equality under the U.S. Constitution, and we thank Senator Michael Bennet for his leadership and support for an expanded ERA," said Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, in a press release. "Bold, inclusive ideas will help put a stop to attacks on communities like LGBTQ Americans, and GLAAD urges the rest of the 2020 presidential field to support an effort that would enshrine full equality to all Americans."

Trump has made 122 attacks on LGBTQ Americans, in policy and rhetoric, since becoming president in 2017, by GLAAD's count.

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