Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who is widely considered the leading Democratic contender for the New Jersey Senate seat in 2014, wrote in college at Stanford University that he once hated gays.
However, a meeting with a gay peer counselor opened his eyes and made him sympathetic to their experience. Booker is now an outspoken advocate for gay rights.
Booker’s piece in the Stanford daily, titled "Pointing the finger at gays," had sections like these:
While hate is a four-letter word I never would have admitted to, the sentiment clandestinely pervaded my every interaction with homosexuals… I still remember how my brow would often unconsciously furrow when I was with gays as thoughts would flash in my mind, 'What sinners I am amongst' or "How unnatural these people are.’
After meeting with the gay counselor, Booker changed his mind:
It was chilling to find that so much of the testimony he shared with me was almost identical to stories my grandparents told me about growing up Black.
At the Human Rights Campaign's 2012 National Dinner, Booker asserted:
We are the ones who must say in the spirit of our ancestors, I am black and I am here. I am Polish and I am here. I am Irish and I am here. I am Jewish and I am here. I am gay. I am transgendered. I am queer and I am here. Get used to it.
In that same speech he said that of same-sex marriage in New Jersey, "And when that bill is signed, I may have a very good seat for it."