US presidential race issues: Equality in America

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2016: Equality In America

Black Lives Matter vs. All Lives Matter
The Black Lives Matter movement gained momentum this year in the wake of the deaths of unarmed black men across the country -- bringing much-needed attention to institutionalized racism and police brutality.

Presidential hopefuls -- both Democrat and Republican -- have addressed the movement. Some have applauded their efforts, like Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, and others have condemned and criticized it, like Ben Carson.

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2016 issues: Equality in America, Race, LGBTQ, Religion
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US presidential race issues: Equality in America
Mara Jacqueline Willaford, left, holds her fist overhead as Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., waves to greet the crowd before speaking at a rally Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015, in downtown Seattle. Willaford and another co-founder of the Seattle chapter of Black Lives Matter took over the microphone just after Sanders began to speak and refused to relinquish it. Sanders eventually left the stage without speaking further and instead waded into the crowd to greet supporters. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Protestors shouting "black lives matter" hold up photos of people they claim are the victims of police violence and signs demanding the passage of AB953, as they block the hallway in front of the office of Gov. Jerry Brown, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015, in Sacramento, Calif. AB953 would change the definition of "racial profiling" and would require local law enforcement agencies to collect demographic data, including the race of those they stop.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Marge Flori, seated on the bench, gives a thumbs up to marchers from United for Blue, an organization to support police, during their the group's march and rally in Annapolis, Md., on Sunday, April 26, 2015. (Amy Davis/Baltimore Sun/TNS via Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 11: Demonstrators, marking the one-year anniversary of the shooting of Michael Brown, protest along West Florrisant Street on August 11, 2015 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on August 9, 2014. His death sparked months of sometimes violent protests in Ferguson and drew nationwide focus on police treatment of black suspects. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 27: Black Lives Matter and 'Get Equal' protestors struggle with police as Democratic presidential candidate and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to guests gathered for a campaign meeting on the campus of Case Western Reserve University on August 27, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. Clinton made her first official campaign stop in Ohio. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
Two boys hold signs that say "Blue Lives Matter," before the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund's Annual Candlelight Vigil, Wednesday, May 13, 2015 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
A sign supporting the police rests in front of a yard Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Cleveland. Community and city leaders braced for the possibility of unrest in response to the Michael Brelo verdict, which came as investigators work toward making a decision on whether charges will be filed in the death of a black 12-year-old boy carrying a pellet gun who was shot by a white rookie officer late last year in a Cleveland park.(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 01: A police helicopter monitors protesters marching in support of Maryland state attorney Marilyn Mosby's announcement that charges would be filed against Baltimore police officers in the death of Freddie Gray on May 1, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray died in police custody after being arrested on April 12, 2015. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Hundreds of protesters march on Michigan Ave in support of Floyd Dent on Friday, April 3, 2015 in Inkster, Mich. Dent, a black motorist, was pulled from his car in January, repeatedly punched in the head by a white police officer and subdued with a stun gun in suburban Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 12: Graffiti remains on the sidewalk along West Florrisant Avenue one year after the shooting of Michael Brown on August 12, 2015 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on August 9, 2014. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 11: Demonstrators, marking the one-year anniversary of the shooting of Michael Brown, protest along West Florrisant Street on August 11, 2015 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on August 9, 2014. His death sparked months of sometimes violent protests in Ferguson and drew nationwide focus on police treatment of black suspects. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
HARLEM, NEW YORK, NY, UNITED STATES - 2015/09/09: A demonstrator holds a sign at the rally against NYC's current policies regarding the homeless population. A protest rally in Harlem organized by the group 'Picture the Homeless' and allied advocacy groups was convened to demand an end to the arrest and incarceration of homeless New Yorkers; demonstrators held events at three sites along a march route that concluded at 25th Precinct of the New York Police Department. (Photo by Albin Lohr-Jones/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Taylor Nalley, second from left, and Courtney Taylor, third from left, both 13, pray during a rally for United for Blue, an organization to support police, held on Lawyer's Mall in Annapolis, Md., on Sunday, April 26, 2015. (Amy Davis/Baltimore Sun/TNS via Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - SEPTEMBER 11: A makeshift memorial for Michael Brown Jr. is seen on September 11, 2015 in Ferguson, Missouri. 2016 Presidential Candidate Ben Carson is expected visit to the Ferguson area. Dr. Carson recently became under scrutiny after publishing an article criticizing the 'Black Lives Matter' movement in their quest against injustice and police brutality. (Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images)
CHATTANOOGA, TN - JULY 19: Ron Fahy and Misty Fahy hold a sign that reads,' American Lives Matter', as they attend a prayer service near the Armed Forces Career Center/National Guard Recruitment Office which had been shot up on July 19, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. . The gunman Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, opened fire on the military recruiting station at the strip mall on July 16th and then drove more than seven miles away to an operational support center operated by the U.S. Navy and killed four United States Marines and a Navy sailor. The gunman was likely killed in a exchange of gunfire with the police. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
A message reading "All Lives Matter" is written on the pavement as police in riot gear cast shadows while standing in line ahead of a curfew Friday, May 1, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
A sign that reads "ALL LIVES MATTER" is hung from a building near a makeshift memorial at the site where NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were murdered in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Monday, Dec. 22, 2014. Police say Ismaaiyl Brinsley ambushed the two officers in their patrol car in broad daylight Saturday, fatally shooting them before killing himself inside a subway station. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
UNITED STATES - JULY 23: From left, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., attend an event in the Capitol on the Equality Act that bans discrimination against LGBT people in federal law, July 23, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
NEW YORK - JUNE 28: Frances Goldin, who has two lesbian daughters, holds a sign while watching the Gay Pride Parade on June 28, 2015 in New York City. The parade is being held two days after the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision siding with the right for gay marriage in the U.S. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Gay marriage equity decision rally, Stonewall Inn, New York, NY, June 26, 2015
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 26: Robert Oliver and Mark Heller (R) hold hands, draped in flags, as they celebrate the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage on June 26, 2015 in West Hollywood, California. The Supreme Court ruled today that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry nationwide without regard to their state's laws. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 26: Steve Ledoux and Mark Beckfold (R), who are married, hold their foster son at a celebration of the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage on June 26, 2015 in West Hollywood, California. The Supreme Court ruled today that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry nationwide without regard to their state's laws. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 26: Men kiss near a window display expressing gratitude as people celebrate the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage on June 26, 2015 in West Hollywood, California. The Supreme Court ruled today that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry nationwide without regard to their state's laws. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 28: Supporters of marriage equality gather outside of the Supreme Court of the United States to demonstrate support for LGBT couples on April 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for HRC)
TINLEY PARK, IL - JULY 31: Republican presidential hopeful and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee speaks to the press after addressing the Freedom's Journal Institute for the Study of Faith and Public Policy 2015 Rise Initiative on July 31, 2015 in Tinley Park, Illinois. The event was billed as a 'frank discussion on defending the sanctity of life from conception to natural death'. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Doug McMillon, president and chief executive officer of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., speaks during a Bloomberg Television interview in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, June 23, 2015. Wal-Mart, which opposed a religious-freedom bill earlier this year and coaxed much of the retail industry into raising wages, took another stand on Monday when it said it would no longer sell Confederate flag merchandise. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Penny Stennitt, of Mt. Sterling Ky., cheers in support during a Religious Freedoms Rally at the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort Ky., Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015. Three Kentucky county clerks who are refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples drew thunderous cheers from the crowd gathered at the state capitol. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
Pastor Jeffrey Fugate of the Clays Mill Road Baptist Church in Lexington, Ky., left, gives an award to Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis during a Religious Freedoms Rally at the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort Ky., Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015. Davis has been sued by The American Civil Liberties Union for denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She says her Christian faith prohibits her from signing the licenses. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
Condy Holmes of Mechanicsburg, Ind. holds a sign a rally at the Statehouse in Indianapolis, Monday, April 27, 2015 against the revised religious freedom legislation. The group of conservative religious leaders is rebuking Gov. Mike Pence and the leaders of the Republican-dominated General Assembly for changes to Indiana's religious objections law that they claim threaten religious liberties.(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Opponents of Indiana Senate Bill 101, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, march towards Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Saturday, April 4, 2015 to push for a state law that specifically bars discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. (AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)
Dominic Dorsey uses a megaphone as he leads a group of opponents to Indiana Senate Bill 101, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, in a march towards Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Saturday, April 4, 2015. Demonstrators are pushing for a state law that specifically bars discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. (AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)
Opponents of Indiana Senate Bill 101, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, march to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Saturday, April 4, 2015 to push for a state law that specifically bars discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. (AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)
Demonstrators attend a rally against a religious freedom bill near the Georgia capitol building in Atlanta on Tuesday, March 31, 2015. A divisive religious freedom bill remains stalled in a Georgia House committee as lawmakers enter the final two days of the legislative session surrounded by pressure from supporters and critics who say the bill can be used as a defense for discrimination against gay or transgender people. (AP Photo/ Ron Harris)
FILE - This March 25, 2015 file photo, shows a window sticker displayed on a downtown Indianapolis business, noting their objections to the Religious Freedom bill passed by the Indiana legislature. The threats to boycott Indiana have faded since the national uproar over passage of the state’s religious objections law three months ago, but as the law takes effect July 1 it continues to trouble tourism efforts and is a looming presence over the state’s politics. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)
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But there's no doubt about it, the 2016 race will challenge candidates to take a stand on inequality.

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Some candidates, like Clinton and Martin O'Malley, have already been criticized for invoking the phrase "All Lives Matter," which activists say dismisses the core issues of racial inequality.

Marriage Equality
Despite the June 2015 supreme court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide, marriage equality remains a hot button issue, especially for the GOP on the campaign trail. For Democrats it's almost become a non-issue, with all candidates endorsing it.

And some Republicans, like John Kasich, are showing their own signs of progress. Not everyone in the GOP shares Kasich's point of view and some, primarily the religious right and Christian conservatives, are pushing back against the Supreme Court's decision.

For example, Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who went to prison after refusing to issue same-sex couples marriage licenses on the grounds of religious freedom. Some Republican candidates like front-runner Donald Trump don't agree with same-sex marriage, but say it's law of the land and others, like Mike Huckabee, are standing with Kim Davis.


This primary season, Democrats who want to capture the sentiment of the Black Lives Matter movement will have to propose police reform and Republicans who morally oppose same-sex marriage will have to decide whether to endorse the Supreme Court's ruling or push back in the name of state's rights or religious freedom.

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