South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a Democratic candidate for president who is openly gay, spoke critically toward Mike Pence over the weekend regarding his faith and Buttigieg’s sexual orientation.
The vice president apparently didn’t take it very well.
Discussing his personal journey being an openly gay mayor and candidate for office, Buttigieg made clear he felt that being gay was something he couldn’t change, even if he wanted to.
“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,” Buttigieg said on Sunday, referring to his belief that God created him just the way he is, per reporting from Bustle.
The candidate also directed his commentary toward Pence, who was the governor of Indiana before he became vice president and who has worked with Buttigieg in the past.
Pence has a record of holding anti-gay and anti-LGBT views, and promoting legislation that worked against promoting LGBT rights.
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) April 9, 2019
Pence has voted against bills that would end discrimination against LGBT individuals, supported proposals for an amendment to the Constitution making marriage between one man and one woman only, and as governor signed the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 2015, which allowed businesses to discriminate against the LGBT community if they cited a religious reason to do so.
Pence has also called being gay a choice, according to reporting from Time, a point that Buttigieg took issue with over the weekend.
“[T]hat’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand,” Buttigieg explained. “If you’ve got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”
According to reporting from the New York Times, Pence told associates that he was upset with Buttigieg for not coming to him directly to speak about their differences in private. The vice president believes that Buttigieg misrepresented his views about the LGBT community in making his comments.
Earlier this week, Pence’s Press Secretary Alyssa Farah pointed out in a tweet that Pence spoke positively about Buttigieg after he came out as gay.
“I hold Mayor Buttigieg in the highest personal regard. I see him as a dedicated public servant and a patriot,” Pence said at the time, according to Farah’s tweet.
Since some are asking: the last time we recall Pence even mentioned @PeteButtigieg was in 2015, after news that Pete came out, Pence said: “I hold Mayor Buttigieg in the highest personal regard. I see him as a dedicated public servant and a patriot" https://t.co/iNjrAzplQkSee Also
— Alyssa Farah (@Alyssafarah) April 9, 2019
Wife Karen Pence also came to the defense of her husband.
“I don’t think the vice president does have a problem with [Buttigieg],” she said during an interview this week. “I think in our country we need to understand you shouldn’t be attacked for what your religious beliefs are.”
However, Pence’s views, as he’s articulated them over the years, are indeed controversial. He once articulated that he believed relationships outside of “traditional” opposite-sex marriages could hurt the country as a whole.
“[S]ocietal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family,” Pence said in a speech in 2006.
In an interview set to air on Thursday, Pence will make his first public comments about Buttigieg’s statements over the weekend.
“He said some things that are critical of my Christian faith and about me personally,” Pence said in the recorded interview, according to CNBC. “And he knows better. He knows me.”
What's Your Reaction?
Chris Walker is a freelance writer based out of Madison, Wisconsin. A millennial with more than a decade of journalism experience, Chris aims to provide readers with the latest and most accurate news of national importance. Chris likes to spend his free time doing activities in his community with his family.