Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker, D-N.J., said he’s been dealing with the “juxtaposing issues of religious freedom and LGBTQ rights” all of his life as a Christian with people “using religion as a justification for discrimination.”
The New Jersey senator then used a Bible verse from the Old Testament to answer a question during CNN‘s LGBTQ town hall Thursday night.
Citing Micah 6:8, Booker made his defense after a UCLA student, who attended an all-girls Catholic high school in N.J., said her school routinely rejected requests for an LGBTQ+ club.
“It said in Micah, ‘What do you want from your Lord, but what is it you want from your people?'” he said. “Which is to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly — walk humbly — and, so for me, I cannot allow, as a leader, that people are going to use religion as a justification for discrimination.”
He added, “I can respect your religious views but also protect people from discrimination.”
Booker used the opportunity to push for the Equality Act as one of the laws “that do not allow people to discriminate…in our schools in education…healthcare….globally.”
He concluded, “My faith, as well as my American values, will make me fight on every front to make sure that people are not discriminating against someone because of who they are.”
At another point in the night, Booker said he once held negative views about “two men kissing” and “hating gays,” but said his activism started as a teenager on a crisis hotline.