CNN and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC) hosted the latest Democratic presidential town hall in Los Angeles, Calif. focused on LGBTQ issues with nine of the presidential hopefuls, including Senator Elizabeth Warren, Mayor Pete Buttegieg, Senator Kamala Harris, former Vice President Joe Biden and more. While all the candidates were vying to be seen as a champion of LGBTQ rights, according to many people online, Warren came out on top.
At one point during the Equality town hall, Morgan Cox, chair of the Human Rights Campaign Board of Directors, challenged the presidential hopeful about how she would respond to an “old-fashioned” supporter whose faith teaches them that “marriage is between one man and one woman.” Warren quickly replied: “Well, I’m going to assume it’s a guy who said that. And I’m going to say, “Then just marry one woman. I’m cool with that,” Warren nonchalantly replied, shrugging her shoulders.
The crowd immediately responded cheers and applause at her quick comeback but then, in a line that’s being talked about all over social media, she replied: “...Assuming you can find one.”
Since the town hall, a video clip of the moment has gone viral online with LGBTQ individuals, allies and celebrities alike retweeting the moment and singing her praises for her priceless responses, including retweets from Ellen Degeneres and support from prominent drag queens Jujubee and Trixie Mattel.
Work bitch— Trixie Mattel (@trixiemattel) October 11, 2019
Meanwhile, U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team all-star Megan Rapinoe retweeted Warren’s sassy one-liner with fire and laughing emoji’s, and actress and activist Alyssa Milano tweeted that it “made [her] day,” as late-night talk show host James Corden called the moment “sensational.”
“The TIMING. The DELIVERY. The TWINKLE IN HER EYE. I can’t wait to see Elizabeth Warren wipe the debate stage with Donald Trump’s haystack of a toupee,” tweeted Sam Stryker, a former senior editor at Buzzfeed.
Emily Andras, a Canadian TV producer and writer tweeted, “God give me an ounce of the wisdom, empathy and comic timing of Elizabeth Warren.”
But not everyone found the comeback to be a good one. Many conservative pundits and people of faith have spoken out to say that they do not appreciate Warren’s zing, and believe she was mocking people of faith.
“WOW. Elizabeth Warren mocks religious people of faith about views on marriage,” Tipping Point host Liz Wheeler tweeted. National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Matt Whitlock agreed. “In the same CNN town hall, Elizabeth Warren touted her faith, opining that ‘hatred for people of faith can be shocking’ but ALSO mocked religious traditional marriage supporters. That might be one of the more Warren things we’ve ever seen.”
WOW. Elizabeth Warren mocks religious people of faith about views on marriage.pic.twitter.com/oPJUAQAb7N— Liz Wheeler (@Liz_Wheeler) October 11, 2019
In the same CNN town hall, Elizabeth Warren touted her faith, opining that “hatred for people of faith can be shocking”but ALSO mocked religious traditional marriage supporters.— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) October 11, 2019
That might be one of the more Warren things we’ve ever seen. pic.twitter.com/eksKo9MAz2
Instead of having a "teachable moment" here, Elizabeth Warren chose to make religious people the punchline of a joke.— Andrew Clark🎃 (@AndrewHClark) October 11, 2019
And the audience ate it up. https://t.co/qp8NEP4sDl
Warren, whom recent polls show to be in a “dead heat” with Biden, has a long history of supporting LGBTQ rights despite growing up in the church in rural Oklahoma — a background she addressed later in the town hall.
“The first song I remember singing [in church] is, ‘They are yellow, black and white. They are precious in his sight. Jesus loves all the children of the world,’” Warren addressed onstage after she was questioned about her own faith. “That is the basis of the faith that I grew up in. And it is truly about the preciousness of each and every life.”
She later added that “the hatefulness” for LGBTQ individuals “really shocked me, especially for people of faith.”
During her time in the U.S. Senate, she urged the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, co-sponsored the Equality Act to include LGBTQ individuals and led a campaign to pressure the FDA to eliminate its lifetime ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood with the first openly gay Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wi). For this reason — and her sassy zing — Warren has won the public support of several prominent LGBTQ individuals including Jonathan Van Ness (who endorsed the presidential candidate on BUILD Series), transgender rights activist Raquel Willis, American writer Roxanne Gay, prominent drag queens and — most recently — rock star Melissa Etheridge, who pledged her support shortly after the town hall.
Although there are many more debates and town halls until voters decide on the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, people online say Warren can count the equality town hall as a win.
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