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Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

Garden State Equality endorses Pete Buttigieg

Fuscarino: ‘He has thrown the doors of the closet wide open’

By David Wildstein, February 27 2020 6:00 am

Garden State Equality Action Fund, the state’s most influential LGBTQ advocacy group, has endorsed Pete Buttigieg for the Democratic presidential nomination.

“Make no mistake, Mayor Pete’s campaign is absolutely historic. He has thrown the doors of the closet wide open,” said Garden State Equality executive director, Christian Fuscarino.  “Many in our community never would have imagined seeing an openly LGBTQ candidate come this close to the White House in our lifetimes, and because of his courage and bravery, the next generation of youth will know they are safe, free, and welcomed in this world.”

The vote to endorse the first openly gay contender for the presidency was unanimous, the group said.

Buttigieg has already received the endorsement of Trenton mayor Reed Gusciora, who was for many years the only openly gay member of the New Jersey Legislature. 

Also endorsing Buttigieg was Steven Goldstein, one of the state’s preeminent civil rights leaders and the founder and first executive director of Garden State Equality. 

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, right, with Garden State Equality executive director Christian Fuscarino.

“Because of the current administration, America’s LGBTQ community is fighting back against a never-ending onslaught of discriminatory and divisive policies,” Fuscarino said in his endorsement statement.  “We’re excited to see the strongest slate of pro-LGBTQ candidates of our lifetime running for President in 2020, but reclaiming the White House in November requires a leader who can reach voters in every corner of America with a message that inspires a broad coalition to protect and secure equality for all. We firmly believe that person is Mayor Pete Buttigieg.”

The endorsement comes twelve days before the deadline for district delegate candidates to file their declaration of candidacies and submit candidate pledge forms.

Buttigieg needs to assemble a statewide organization with 84 district delegates and the size and strength of Garden State Equality could make that task easier.

“Mayor Pete’s visionary, robust agenda for LGBTQ equality perfectly aligns with Garden State Equality’s policy priorities for New Jersey and is the most detailed and innovative blueprint for advancing equality nationwide,” Fuscarino said.  “From reforming HIV criminalization laws to expanding access to HIV-prevention drugs like PrEP/PEP — in addition to ending the blanket ban on blood donation — Mayor Pete has put forward evidence-based solutions to fight stigma and end the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2030.”

Fuscarino said that Buttigieg is committed to combating a national increase in hate crimes and violence against trans women of color by rebuilding the bridge of trust between law enforcement and our community with bias training for officers and strict enforcement of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act.”

“More importantly, Mayor Pete has put youth front-and-center in his agenda, including banning ‘conversion’ therapy nationwide, passing the LGBTQ Suicide Prevention Act, funding youth homelessness, and reinstating protections for transgender youth in schools that were callously rescinded by the Trump-Pence administration,” Fuscarino said. 

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