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Pete Buttigieg tells Mike Pence: My marriage has brought me closer to God

Nick Duffy April 8, 2019
Pete Buttigieg slams Mike Pence for 'bad policies'

Pete Buttigieg has announed his presidential run (Spencer Platt/Getty)

Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg has hit out at Vice President Mike Pence’s views on LGBT+ rights, as he spoke about his own struggle to reconcile his sexuality with his faith.

The gay Democrat made the comments on Sunday (April 7) in a speech to Victory Fund, a political action committee that supports LGBT+ candidates for office.

Pete Buttigieg: I’d have taken a pill to cure myself of being gay

In his speech, Buttigieg admitted: “When I was younger, I would have done anything to not be gay.

“When I began to realise what it meant that I felt the way I did, I launched a kind of war [inside me], and if that war had been settled on the terms that I wished for when I was 15 or 20 or 25, I would not be standing here.

“If you had offered me a pill to make me straight, I would have swallowed it before you had time to give me a sip of water. If you showed me exactly what it was inside me that made me gay, I would have cut it out with a knife.”

Democratic presidential hopeful South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks to members of the media before appearing at the Commonwealth Club of California on March 28, 2019 in San Francisco, California.
Democratic presidential hopeful South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks to members of the media before appearing at the Commonwealth Club of California on March 28, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty)

He continued: “If I had had a chance to do that, I wouldn’t have found my way to [husband] Chasten. The best thing in my life, my marriage, might not have happened at all. How dark the thought that the man I love might not have been part of my life at all.

“Thank God there was no pill, thank God there was no knife.”

Pete Buttigieg: My marriage is a moral issue because it made me a better person

He added: “People talk about marriage equality as a moral issue. And it certainly is a moral issue as far as I’m concerned, because being married to Chasten has made me a better human being.

“[Being married] has made me more compassionate, more understanding, more self-aware and more decent. My marriage to Chasten has made me a better man. And yes, Mr Vice President, it has moved me closer to God.”

He added: “This idea that there’s something wrong with you, puts you at odds not only with yourself but with your maker.

“Speaking only for myself, I can tell you that if me being gay was a choice, it was a choice that was made far, far above my pay grade. And that’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand.

“If you’ve got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”

Buttigieg has plenty of personal history with Pence, who was the governor of Indiana during his first term as mayor of South Band, Indiana.

The pair clashed in 2015 when Pence signed a ‘freedom to discriminate’ law, which Mayor Buttigieg prominently opposed.

Chasten Buttigieg: I lived out of my car after coming out as gay

The candidate’s husband, Chasten Buttigieg, spoke about his own struggles as a young gay man in a separate speech to Human Rights Campaign on Saturday (April 6).

He recalled: “When I was 18 years old, I worked up the courage to tell my parents that I was gay. While we have a great relationship now, but back then, things weren’t easy.

“Eventually, I thought, ‘I can’t be here anymore,’ and so I moved out without a plan. I was scared, living between my car and friends’ couches.

“I was taking classes at the community college, where I heard about HRC. I signed up, and proudly slapped that HRC sticker on the back bumper of my car.”

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