Newark mayor and U.S. Senate candidate Cory Booker, responding to persistent speculation that he is gay, says “So what does it matter if I am?”
Booker, a Democrat and long-time supporter of marriage equality and LGBT rights, made the remarks in a lengthy new profile appearing in The Washington Post on Tuesday.
Booker says that his involvement in Waywire [a small video aggregation start-up he co-founded] is in part a result of his restless mind but also his lack of familial obligations. It is to his “great dismay” that “I have not settled down with a life partner.” He tells a story about how, early in his tenure as mayor, as murders continued to mount, he ran bawling past the places where Newarkers had been shot. He called a pastor friend and told him how broken he felt. At the end of the conversation, Booker expected some spiritual advice.
“You need to get married,” the pastor said.
After that, Booker says, he started dating more — although, he clarifies, not with Arianna Huffington, with whom he was rumored to have been involved. But he has kept that part of his life private because he says he needs some sacred spaces.
“Because how unfair is it to a young lady to put them in the spotlight if they haven’t signed up for that yet?” he says. “And people who think I’m gay, some part of me thinks it’s wonderful. Because I want to challenge people on their homophobia. I love seeing on Twitter when someone says I’m gay, and I say, ‘So what does it matter if I am? So be it. I hope you are not voting for me because you are making the presumption that I’m straight.’ ”
Named in 2013 as one of Town & Country’’s “Top 40 Bachelors,” Booker, 44, has never been married.
In a column in a college paper, Booker admitted regretfully that as a teenager he had “hated gays,” which prompted speculation if he himself is gay. When asked, his spokesperson refused to comment on the matter.