Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg was confronted by anti-LGBT hecklers during a campaign event in Texas.
Buttigieg, the only openly gay candidate in the 2020 race for the White House, appeared as the main speaker at the Dallas County Democratic Party’s annual Johnson Jordan dinner on Friday (May 3).
CNN reporter DJ Judd posted on Twitter a video showing one of the hecklers being escorted out of the hotel.
Pete Buttigieg has been interrupted four times here in Dallas by protesters. One yelled “Marriage is between a man and a woman!” Another yelled “Repent!” After the 4th, Buttigieg continued, “The moment I packed my bags for Afghanistan, to defend that man’s freedom of speech…” pic.twitter.com/zIpDSCIrti
— DJ Judd (@DJJudd) May 4, 2019
He wrote: “Pete Buttigieg has been interrupted four times here in Dallas by protesters. One yelled ‘Marriage is between a man and a woman!’ Another yelled ‘Repent!'”
According to Judd, the 37-year-old candidate and mayor of South Bend, Indiana, only addressed the protesters after he was heckled for the fourth time.
“I’m thinking of that scripture that says blessed and do not curse,” he said, quoted in CBS-DFW.
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He then referenced his seven-month deployment to Afghanistan in 2014 as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve, saying it was “for the purpose of defending that gentleman’s freedom of speech.”
According to CBS-DFW, the five protesters belong to a group called the Society for Truth and Justice, who oppose abortion and same-sex marriage.
“Texans don’t stand for this kind of homophobia and hatred.”
— Beto O’Rourke
Fellow presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke, a Texas native who led a spirited but ultimately unsuccessful challenge to anti-LGBT senator Ted Cruz during the mid-term elections, expressed solidarity with Buttigieg.
O’Rourke tweeted on Friday: “Texans don’t stand for this kind of homophobia and hatred. Mayor Pete, we are grateful you came to Texas and hope to see you and Chasten back again soon.”
Pete Buttigieg was recently faced with hecklers in Iowa
It was not the first time Buttigieg was confronted with anti-gay heckling.
At one event in Iowa in April, two protesters shouted “Remember Sodom and Gomorrah” at Buttigieg. The quote references the biblical cities where residents engaged in “sexual immorality” and were punished with “eternal fire.”
In that occasion too, the presidential candidate calmly defused the tension. “That gentleman believes that what he is doing is in line with the will of the creator,” Buttigieg said afterwards.
He added: “I view it differently. We ought to be able to view it differently and never question one another’s choices.”