New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, who has announced a 2020 run for president, questioned a Trump judicial nominee this week over the nominee’s opinion on same-sex marriage.
Booker asked judicial nominee Neomi Rao if she thinks gay relationships are “immoral.” Rao is nominated for the D.C. appellate court judgeship previously held by Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Rao currently serves as the administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. She told Booker his question was irrelevant.
Booker responded: “I think that [it is] relevant, your opinion if you think that African-American relationships are immoral, do you think gay relationships are immoral? Do you personally believe that gay relationships are immoral?”
Rao said she did not think gay relationships were immoral, but Booker then asked if she thought gay relationships were a “sin.”
“Senator, my personal views on any of these subjects are things that I would put to one side and I would faithfully follow [the precedence of the Supreme Court],” she answered.
Booker also asked her about a 2013 opinion where she criticized the Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of United States v. Windsor, which struck down the Defense of Marriage Act that defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
“In that particular article, what I was saying is that in the case in Windsor did not recognize same-sex marriage as a right,” she said. ”It only recognized the right to have your marriage recognized if the state provided such a marriage. Of course, that later step was taken in Obergefell but Windsor, part of what I was explaining, was a rather empty right that was in that case.”
Finally, Booker asked her if she had ever had LGBT employees on her staff.
“To be honest, I don’t know the sexual orientation of my staff,” she said. “So I take people as they come irrespective of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation. I treat people as individuals. Those are the values that I grew up with and those are the values I would confirm.”
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