Elizabeth Warren, a top contender for the U.S. Democratic presidential nomination, drew cheers online and offline for her quippy response to a question about same-sex marriage.
Warren was among nine other Democratic nominee hopefuls who took questions on LGBTQ2 issues during a televised CNN forum on Thursday evening.
It was a question from Morgan Cox, the chair of the Human Rights Campaign board of directors, that sparked the reaction.
Cox asked the Massachusetts senator how she would respond if a supporter approached her on the campaign trail and said: “I’m old-fashioned and my faith teaches me that marriage is between one man and one woman.”
Warren responded: “Well, I’m going to assume it’s a guy who said that. And then I’m going to say, then just marry one woman. I’m cool with that.”
The crowd broke into laughter and cheers as Warren shrugged her shoulders. She paused before finishing her thoughts: “Assuming you can find one.”
Her delivery sent the crowd into applause.
She also received widespread online praise for her response.
“Elizabeth Warren just hit a home run on how to deal with people who oppose marriage equality,” said one user.
Others pointed to a tone of sexism in the response.
“Elizabeth Warren attacks men of faith, suggests that no woman would ever be interested in them if they did not support gay marriage because of their faith,” said one user. “Warren also shows that she is sexist as she suggests no woman would ever hold that view.”
Warren was then asked whether there was ever a time in her life she felt differently about same-sex marriage, to which Warren answered, “No.”
She said she couldn’t be sure what she thought as a kid, and acknowledged that different faiths see things differently.
She said the “hatefulness… especially for people of faith” always shocked her.
“To me, it’s about what I learned in the church I grew up in. First song I eve remember singing: They are yellow, black and white. They are precious in his sight. Jesus loves all the children of the world,” she said, singing the tune.
“But to me, that’s the heart of it — that was the basis of the faith I grew up in. It truly is about the preciousness of each and every life. It is about the worth of every human being.”
The 2020 campaign is unfolding as polling reflects significant support for LGBTQ2 rights.
According to the Associated Press, a recent Gallup poll found that 71 per cent of Americans support allowing transgender people to serve in the military. That stance is in contrast to the policies of President Donald Trump.
Prior to the debate, Warren announced a plan to pass the Equality Act, which would amend the Civil Rights Act to protect against discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation and gender identity.
The legislation is supported by many other Democrats and was the subject of a similar announcement on LGBTQ2 rights by Pete Buttigieg, who also participated in the town hall.
Buttigieg is the first openly gay person to make a serious bid for the presidency.
Warren is considered a top contender for the Democratic presidential nomination. Her popularity has been steadily rising, pitting her against the early front-runner, former U.S. vice-president Joe Biden.
Meanwhile, a joke by CNN anchor Chris Cuomo wasn’t as well-received.
When Sen. Kamala Harris joined him on stage Thursday night, she told Cuomo and the crowd that her personal pronouns are “she, her and hers.”
Cuomo then replied: “mine too.”
His comments were criticized online. He later apologized in a tweet, saying he shouldn’t have said it.
“I am an ally of the LGBTQ community, and I am so sorry because I am committed to helping us achieve equality,” he said. “Thank you for watching our townhall.”
— With files from the Associated Press