Nine Democratic presidential candidates vowed Thursday to reverse President Trump’s rollbacks of LGBTQ rights as they sought to appeal to a crucial group of voters in the race for the party’s 2020 nomination.

In back-to-back appearances at a CNN town hall in Los Angeles, the Democrats sketched out equivalent agendas on LGBTQ problems. A single following a further, they vowed to reverse President Trump’s ban on transgender men and women serving in the military and to outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The most warmly received candidate was Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., who spoke at the final main debate about his choice to publicly come out as gay quickly following returning from war.

In criticizing the ban on transgender troops, the 37-year-old military veteran who served in Afghanistan took a swipe at the president for having a health-related deferral to stay away from service in the Vietnam War.

“The transgender military ban is an outrage against the willingness of service members to place their lives on the line for this nation, and they are getting their careers threatened by a president who avoided serving when it was his turn,” he mentioned to a burst of applause. “That is dead incorrect.”

Turning to the mental wellness of LGBTQ youth, Buttigieg known as for a national “three-digit suicide prevention hotline.” He also bemoaned the federal rule barring blood donations by guys who have had sex with a further man inside the final year.

“My blood’s not welcome in this nation,” he mentioned, “and it is not primarily based on science it is primarily based on prejudice.”

The forum, sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, came as public help for LGBTQ rights has been increasing. Huge majorities of Americans back very same-sex marriage and oppose the ban on transgender men and women in the military.

Trump promised throughout his 2016 campaign to be a buddy to LGBTQ Americans, but as president has sought on several fronts to roll back their rights.

His administration argued prior to the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not bar employers from firing workers primarily based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Elizabeth Warren answers a question from CNN moderator Chris Cuomo at the town hall in downtown Los Angeles.

Elizabeth Warren answers a query from CNN moderator Chris Cuomo at the town hall in downtown Los Angeles.

(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Connected Press)

In the hours prior to the town hall, 3 of the candidates — Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, California Sen. Kamala Harris and Buttigieg — released plans to strengthen LGBTQ rights in largely equivalent approaches. Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas had place out his LGBTQ agenda in June. All 4 vowed to reverse the transgender military ban and to perform to explicitly outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Warren promised to “use each and every legal tool we have” in her 1st 100 days as president to restore nondiscrimination protections that have been place in spot by President Obama and rescinded by Trump, like an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against LGBTQ workers.

Kamala Harris answers a question at the LGBTQ forum sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and CNN on Thursday.

Kamala Harris answers a query at the LGBTQ forum sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and CNN.

(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Connected Press)

Harris pledged to fight for her proposed law to make sure that religious freedom cannot be utilized to justify discrimination, a bill that Warren also vowed to sign into law. Harris mentioned she would also place a chief advocate for LGBTQ affairs on her White Home employees.

All 4 of the candidates’ plans contain promises to expand access to the PrEP HIV-prevention drug. Buttigieg has set a aim of ending the HIV epidemic by 2030.

He also proposed outlawing “conversion therapy,” which purports to make men and women heterosexual, and forming a process force aimed at stopping LGBTQ suicides. Other candidates also vowed to take action against conversion therapy.

“In my opinion this is tantamount to torture — torture that we’re going to on kids who are totally defenseless,” O’Rourke told the audience at the Novo theater at L.A. Reside.

Harris reminded the audience that when she was California lawyer common, she fought to overturn Proposition eight, the 2008 ballot measure that banned very same-sex marriage, saying it was time for the United States to ban discrimination against LGBTQ Americans.

“We did it prior to,” she mentioned. “As president, I will do it once again.”

Joe Biden speaks at the LGBTQ town hall in Los Angeles.

Joe Biden mentioned he does not assume most Americans understand it is legal in a lot of components of the nation to fire somebody for becoming portion of the LGBTQ neighborhood.

(Robyn Beck / AFP-Getty Pictures)

Former Vice President Joe Biden mentioned portion of the difficulty in having the anti-discrimination law passed is that most Americans do not understand it is legal in significantly of the nation to fire somebody for becoming portion of the LGBTQ neighborhood.

“When we speak about becoming in a position to get married on Sunday and get, or Saturday, and get fired on Monday, the vast majority of American men and women do not assume that is feasible,” mentioned Biden, who promised to open “a unique workplace that is devoted straight to advertising LGBTQ rights about the planet.”

Warren acknowledged the anti-discrimination bill would face grim prospects in Congress if Republicans preserve their majority in the Senate. It passed the Democratic-controlled Home in Could.

“What it is going to take in the Senate, I’m just going to be blunt: We’ve got to have much more Democrats in the Senate,” Warren mentioned.

She turned cheeky when asked how she’d respond to somebody who says marriage ought to be restricted to a single man and a single lady.

“I’m going to assume it is a guy who mentioned that,” she mentioned. “And I’m going to say, ‘Then just marry a single lady. I’m cool with that. Assuming you can uncover a single.’”

Warren also voiced regret for criticizing a judge throughout her 2012 Senate race for a ruling that granted transition-connected surgery to a transgender inmate. “I assume it was a terrible answer,” she mentioned.

An additional top rated contender for the nomination, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, declined to travel to Los Angeles for the town hall although recovering from the heart attack he suffered final week, but issued a statement saying the nation “must not let Donald Trump and the Supreme Court take us backwards.”

“In my view, it is totally unacceptable that in a lot of states, it is nonetheless legal to fire somebody for becoming LGBTQ+ and it is nonetheless legal to deny somebody housing or service in the military for becoming transgender,” Sanders mentioned. “That has got to transform.”

Hecklers repeatedly interrupted the forum. A single individual shouted to Harris that transgender ladies of colour have been becoming “hunted systematically,” alluding to the slayings of at least 18 so far this year.

“You’re suitable,” Harris responded, promising “serious accountability” and adding, “I hear you.”

A black transgender lady who identified herself as Blossom C. Brown grabbed a single of the audience microphones throughout O’Rourke’s look and shouted, “Black trans ladies are dying! Our lives matter!”

CNN anchor Don Lemon permitted her to speak for a bit, telling her, “The explanation we are right here is to validate men and women like you.”

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