South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is running for president within the Democratic primary contests, took part in the Human Rights Campaign’s Equality Town Hall on Thursday evening, which was hosted by CNN.
Buttigieg was asked a specific question regarding how he felt about LGBTQ individuals being discriminated against in the workplace or by business owners dealing with customers. The mayor made clear that his position was not in any way meant to tell people “how to worship,” but that nevertheless, his own religious views caused him to view the subject differently than conservative Christians might, according to a report from AlterNet.
“The Christian tradition that I belong to instructs me to identify with the marginalized and to recognize that the greatest thing that any of us has to offer is love,” Buttigieg said. “Religious liberty is an important principle in this country, and we honor that. It’s also the case that any freedom that we honor in this country has limits when it comes to harming other people.”
The Democratic candidate elaborated on his views. “A famous justice once said, ‘My right to swing my fist ends where somebody else’s nose begins,'” he explained. “And the right to religious freedom ends where religion is being used as an excuse to harm other people.”
“When religion is used in that way, to me, it makes God smaller,” Buttigieg added.
"The right to religious freedom ends where religion is being used as an excuse to harm other people."
Presidential candidate @PeteButtigieg on religion, discrimination and equality. #EqualityTownHall https://t.co/FhDU1nMqaK pic.twitter.com/Mck0vBjhg0
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) October 11, 2019
Buttigieg himself is a gay man. He’s also the first millennial to run for presidential office, NBC News reported.
Respecting the rights of LGBTQ Americans will likely become a big part of the 2020 presidential campaign, no matter who the Democrats end up selecting as their nominee. The Supreme Court this week heard arguments about a case involving employment discrimination, in which it was reasoned by litigants that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 legally extends to protections for individuals within the LGBTQ community.
Justices for the High Court seemed divided, with Neil Gorsuch, an associate justice appointed by President Donald Trump, possibly becoming a swing vote on the matter, the New York Times reported.
Gorsuch indicated there is a “textual” argument in favor of extending protections to workers. But he also openly worried about “massic social upheaval” if the Court ruled in favor of extending protections to the LGBTQ community.