The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest LGBT civil rights group, is cheering New Jersey voters' election of Cory Booker to the U.S. Senate on Oct. 16.
Booker, the Democratic mayor of Newark, won a special election, defeating tea party Republican Steve Lonegan for the seat left vacant by the June death of Frank Lautenberg.
Chad Griffin, president of HRC, said, "Cory Booker is a dedicated public servant who views equality for all people as his guiding principle. Senator Booker will be a welcome addition to Capitol Hill as we work to pass workplace protections for LGBT people, confirm qualified judicial nominations and a work on a range of other priorities for our community. Already a national leader, this new position will allow him to continue being a stalwart ally for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people across the country."
Booker, who will be sworn in as the first black U.S. senator from New Jersey, will have to run for election to a full term in November 2014.
He is a strong advocate for LGBT civil rights, including marriage equality.
At the Democratic National Convention in North Carolina last summer, Booker delivered a fiery speech for equality. He talked about the "emboldened pathway toward the historic hope which has driven generations of Americans forward. It is our most fundamental national aspiration – that no matter who you are, no matter what your color, creed, how you choose to pray or who you choose to love – that if you are an American, first generation or fifth … who is willing to work hard, play by the rules and apply your God-given talents, (then) you should be able to find a job that pays the bills."
Talking with LGBT delegates during a DNC caucus meeting, he quoted from Langston Hughes and James Baldwin and said, “Hate is hate, bigotry is bigotry … and inequality is inequality.”