Bernie Sanders & LGBT Asbury Park Parade

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LGBT pride month took place in June 2016, one year after the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriages in the U.S.  LGBT festivals and parades were held across the country in nearly every major city in June in celebration of the one-year decision. Asbury Park, New Jersey, hosted the Jersey Pride 25th Annual LGBTI Pride Celebration on Sunday, June 5, 2016.  Several thousand people joined the parade and watched on the sidewalk, as dozens of parade floats received loud applause.  But like in most election years, politics dominated the conversation.

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I joined the Bernie Sanders contingent in the parade – Ride the Bus in Asbury PRIDE Parade for Bernie & Friends. Despite the light drizzle and rain clouds in the sky when the parade first began at noon, I joined around 25 Sanders supporters on the “Bus for Progress”, a tall bus that has traveled across the state and canvassed for Bernie for months.  The Bus for Progress was signed up for the LGBTI Parade that day, and there was no “Hillary Bus” of any kind. The Bus for Progress was covered in Bernie posters, and Bernie supporters stood on the top roof of the bus as we went through the parade, making our group have the tallest float in the parade.  The majority of people on the sidewalk either supported Bernie or at least were not offended to see the Bernie Bus.  The majority of young people were especially excited to see the Bernie Bus, indicating once again that the youth want nothing to do with Hillary.  The Bus for Progress received press attention from NJ.com.

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But the Hillary-bots did swarm the parade. Prior to the launching of the parade, an old, white female yelled at the sweet ladies on the Bus for Progress because apparently local Congresspersons were represented on the bus, which upset this Hillary supporter.  During the parade I witnessed a good amount of people holding Hillary multi-colored signs, who chanted “Hillary” as we passed them.  But we could always out-chant them with “Feel the Bern” or repeating “Bernie” over and over.  Some of us on the Bernie bus loudly yelled that Bernie supported LGBTI rights since the 1970s, unlike Clinton who only supported LGBTI rights in the last few years.

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The ignorance and blind worshiping of Hillary Clinton can be best exemplified at a LGBTI Pride Parade, where no Clinton supporters should be allowed to attend.  Hillary never cared about LGBTI rights until it became a beneficial asset to her career over the past few years, but before then she treated LGBTI rights as a liability. According to the Huffington Post, Hillary’s worst anti-gay stunt was her support for the passage of 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibited federal recognition of same-sex marriage, and remained a major roadblock to the passage of same-sex marriage for the following decades.  In addition, the Clinton’s enacted the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” military policy of the 1990s, which barred homosexuals from openly serving in the military.  Hillary continued this line of thought throughout the 2000s.  In 2004, she described heterosexual marriages as a “fundamental bedrock principle.” Her lack of support for LGBTI rights continued during her 2008 campaign.  Hillary did not fully come out for LGBTI rights unequivocally until 2013, when support for LGBTI rights was already a norm for the Democratic Party.

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Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, seems to have been a supporter of LGBTI rights since the 1970s, beginning when he wrote a letter to a newspaper in support of same-sex marriage back in 1972. Moreover, Vermont passed the first same-sex marriage bills in 2000, under the support of Sanders. Without a doubt, Sanders is the better candidate because he always fights for the oppressed and the 99%.

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