The fourth and final night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention has struck an LGBTQ+-inclusive note, with appearances from out politicians including Pete Buttigieg, Tammy Baldwin, Danica Roem, and Robert Garcia.
Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination this year, appeared Thursday night to express support for the ticket of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and to laud the advances on LGBTQ+ rights over the past decade.
Noting that he, like Biden's son Beau, served in the military, Buttigieg said, "Just over 10 years ago, I joined a military where firing me because of who I am wasn't just possible -- it was policy. Now in 2020, it is unlawful in America to fire anyone because of who they are or who they love. The very ring on my finger reflects how this country can change. Love makes my marriage real, but political courage made it possible -- including that of Joe Biden, who stepped out ahead of even this party when he said that marriage equality should be the law of the land."
"If so much can change between 2010 and 2020, imagine what 2030 could look like," he continued. "Imagine what we could achieve -- the coalition we are building this very season, gathering progressives and moderates, independents and even 'former Republicans,' to help build a future where everyone belongs."
"Every American must now decide," he added. "Can America be a place where faith is about healing and not exclusion? Can we become a country that lives up to the truth that Black Lives Matter? Will we handle questions of science and medicine by turning to scientists and doctors? What will we do to make America into a land where no one who works full time can live in poverty?"
"The day I was born, close to where I'm standing, here in South Bend, the idea of an 'out' candidate seeking any federal office at all was laughable," he said toward the end." Yet earlier this year I campaigned for the presidency, often with my husband at my side, winning delegates to this very convention. Now I proudly support Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. In doing so I am joining fellow Democrats who were squaring off in competition just a few months ago. A number of us recently got together to talk about the Joe we know."
He then cut to a video featuring himself, U.S. Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and businessman Andrew Yang. Watch below.
Baldwin, a U.S. senator from Wisconsin, appeared earlier to discuss health care. "When I was 9 years old, I got sick," she said. "Really sick. I was hospitalized. But since my grandparents were the ones raising me -- and our family's health plan didn't cover grandkids -- they were forced to pay out of pocket for my three-month hospital stay. I got better. But the insurance companies didn't. They refused to cover me at any cost -- because I was marked 'child with a preexisting condition.'"
She noted later, however, that there was another part to her story: "The part where I ran for office. The part where I served in Congress. The part where I worked with Joe Biden and Barack Obama to make sure kids -- and grandkids, if they're dependents -- can stay on their parents' health insurance until they are 26" because of the Affordable Care Act. Passing the ACA, a signature achievement of the Obama administration, was a "big effing deal," she said.
She said Biden and Harris will help make the nation into what most Americans want. "Most of us want the same things: good schools in our neighborhoods, racial justice, the freedom to love who we want, dignity in our work, and an economy where small businesses and working families thrive," she said. "And over the past months, we've added to that list: a nation free from COVID."
"That's the America we will be with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the White House," Baldwin said.
The evening opened with a video featuring 30 elected officials, activists, and others saying what they hope to see a year from now. Virginia state legislator Danica Roem said she wants to see a president "who can look a transgender woman in the eye and tell her her rights are protected." Robert Garcia, the mayor of Long Beach, Calif., said he hoped for comprehensive immigration reform. Watch below.