Who is Julián Castro? The LGBT rights supporter to run for US President
Julián Castro, Barack Obama’s former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and a long-time LGBT+ ally, has announced he will seek the Democratic nomination for the 2020 US presidential election.
Castro, who oversaw the Department of Housing and Urban Development from 2014 to 2017, announced his own presidential bid on January 12 in a speech in San Antonio, Texas.
The political hopeful drew on his Mexican-American family heritage in the speech, speaking about the experiences of immigrant families in America in a bid to set himself out from what is likely to be a crowded Democratic primary to select the party’s challenger to Donald Trump.
Julián Castro LGBT rights record as Mayor of San Antonio
Castro got his start in politics in San Antonio, a liberal city in the conservative state of Texas.
The political hopeful had served on the city council for four years before becoming Mayor of San Antonio in 2009.
Mayor Castro was an early advocate of LGBT+ rights, signing a city ordinance in 2013 that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations.
The law was a crucial lifeline to the LGBT+ community in San Antonio, as there are no federal or Texas-wide anti-discrimination protections for LGBT+ people.
Castro also extended domestic partner benefits to city employees in same-sex relationships, and used his platform to advocate for marriage equality, signing the “Mayors for the Freedom to Marry” petition in 2012.
When the Supreme Court struck down a federal anti-gay marriage law in 2013, Castro called for Texas to repeal its own anti-gay laws, adding: “Ending the official bigotry that Texas sanctions is both the right thing to do, and it is also good for business.”
Julián Castro was a strong supporter of San Antonio’s Pride parade across his time in office, becoming the first mayor of San Antonio to serve as the parade’s grand marshal in 2009.
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