Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, is a Democratic longshot that’s been getting an enormous amount of media attention. A swell of people are eager to see and speak to him. Unfortunately, it’s not always positive attention. In fact, in some instances, it’s been downright homophobic.
Buttigieg, who is openly gay and married to his husband, Chasten Glezman, has been heckled by the same group of anti-LGBTQ protestors as he moves around the country on his campaign. Most recently, these hecklers attempted to interrupt an event in Dallas on Friday night.
Buttigieg had been speaking at the Dallas County Democratic Party dinner. According to the local CBS affiliate, there were five anti-LGBTQ protestors at the event within ten minutes.
CNN reporter DJ Judd, who attended the event, tweeted:
— Marcus DiPaola (@marcusdipaola) May 4, 2019
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
As reported by CNN, Buttigieg handled the situation with a lot of grace and a well-timed pivot. “That moment when I was packing my bags for Afghanistan for the purpose of defending that gentleman’s freedom of speech,” the mayor told the crowd.
His grace in this situation actually isn’t too surprising, given what he’s said on the subject in the past.
In an interview with Time, Buttigieg has explained that homophobia is actually an example of what’s helped him believe people can change. “This idea that we just sort people into baskets of good and evil ignores the central fact of human existence, which is that each of us is a basket of good and evil,” Buttigieg told the magazine in an interview earlier this year. “The job of politics is to summon the good and beat back the evil.”
Fellow 2020 hopeful Beto O’Rourke, who came close but ultimately lost his Senate race against Republican Ted Cruz, backed Buttigieg on Twitter.
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. https://t.co/IhRDtIBREb
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) May 4, 2019
While this kind of allyship is doing the minimum, it’s definitely nice to see the camaraderie, especially when both men are vying for the nomination.
Oh—and who were the people shouting those gross statements? The hecklers were reportedly part of a group led by anti-LGBTQ and anti-abortion advocate Randall Terry.
Sound familiar? You might remember him as the guy who tried to attempt an event of Buttigieg’s last month. In Iowa, Terry shouted, “Remember Sodom and Gomorrah,” and was almost immediately silenced by boos.
After the boos quieted, Buttigieg pivoted smoothly then, too. “The good news is the condition of my soul is in the hands of God,” Buttigieg said to the crowd in Iowa, “but the Iowa caucuses are up to you.”
“Remember the beauty of our democracy. Everyone here gets the exact same voice and vote. Feels like the numbers are on our side,” he added.
Well-played, Mayor Buttigieg.