The couple that helped legalize marriage equality across the country has come out strongly for Bernie Sanders.
Kentuckian Timothy Love, and his partner, Lawrence Ysunza, were finally able to marry after being together for 35 years when the U.S. Supreme Court required all states to allow LGBTQ couples to have legal marriage rights and to recognize existing same-sex marriages last year. But even though the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the leading advocacy organization for LGBTQ rights — endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary, Love and other marriage equality adovates are feeling the Bern. This is especially significant considering that they voted for Bill Clinton in both 1992 and 1996.
“Larry and I had worked for many hours as volunteers in the Clinton campaign starting with the primary in 1992 through Election Day,” Love wrote in a Facebook post. “Although we do support the mission of the Human Rights Campaign, our long experience and our hearts lead us in another direction.”
Love isn’t the only prominent LGBT activist to endorse Bernie Sanders’ campaign — the Kentucky couples suing Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis over her interference with the issuing of marriage licenses for both LGBT and straight couples in the wake of the SCOTUS decision are also publicly aligning with Bernie Sanders.
David Moore, who was initially denied a marriage license by Davis, told US Uncut that Bernie Sanders has been the most consistent on LGBTQ issues, even before it was politically safe to do so.
“With Bernie, what you see is what you get,” Moore said. “Even going back to the 1970s, he was supportive. He’s been consistent over the years, he marched in Burlington’s first pride parade, he’s been for us way before any of the other states had gay marriage.”
In an official press release, the Kentucky couples suing Davis pointed out Sanders’ long track record of standing up for marriage equality, and they highlighted his campaign platform, which makes protecting the civil rights of LGBTQ Americans a top priority:
As a congressman, Bernie Sanders is the only Democratic candidate running for office who voted against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the “Defense of Marriage Act.” Not only was Hillary Clinton initially supportive of both pieces of legislation, but it was the Clinton administration that signed both of them into law. In 2016, we cannot afford a Democratic candidate who would be willing to compromise our civil rights away to people like Kim Davis.
Moving forward, Bernie Sanders promises to continue working for the LGBTQ community by reducing bullying and by ending discrimination in housing, employment, and health care. He supports the Equality Act, which would expand the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sexual orientation and gender identity, and he would sign into law other bills supportive of non-discrimination against LGBTQ people. In addition, Sanders would “veto any legislation that purports to ‘protect’ religious liberty at the expense of others’ rights.”
Jody Fernandez, one of the straight couples suing Davis, said supporting Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton was a hard decision but that her support of Sanders ultimately came down to core values.
“I’ve always wanted a female president, but I like Bernie’s ideas better,” Fernandez told US Uncut. “We have to do something about healthcare, and we absolutely have to do something about college costs.”
Fernandez strongly believes that the profit motive should be entirely removed from healthcare and education. She added that even as a native of conservative-leaning Kentucky, the fearmongering over Sanders’ embrace of democratic socialism is a non-issue.
“I don’t have an issue with socialism. Bernie is a social democrat, as was FDR. And he oversaw changes in our country that helped everyone,” Fernandez said. “Socialism in itself is not a bad thing.”