When they go low, Pete Buttigieg always goes high.
During a live Q&A with Washington Post contributor Jonathan Capehart this week at the 92nd Street Y in New York City, the gay presidential hopeful had a particularly memorable response to public critics of his sexual orientation.
Capehart specifically brought up evangelist Franklin Graham's recent tweet that Buttigieg’s sexuality is "something to be repentant of, not something to be flaunted, praised or politicized."
“What would you say to the Franklin Grahams of the world, the Mike Pences of the world, that have an issue with the LGBT community?” the journalist asked.
“I guess I would say that we all have a lot to repent for,” Buttigieg replied. “I have a lot to repent for when it comes to my marriage–moments when I have not been as caring as I should be, moments when I’ve been selfish, moments when I’ve said a harsh word that I wish I could take back. But one thing that I absolutely should not be repentant for in the context of my marriage is the fact that I’m in love with my husband.”
The 37-year-old South Bend mayor officially announced his bid last month to become the youngest and first openly gay president of the United States.
Born in South Bend, Indiana’s fourth largest city with roughly 100,000 residents, Buttigieg is a Harvard graduate, a Rhodes scholar, and a veteran Naval lieutenant who served in Afghanistan. He was elected mayor in 2011 and, despite governing as a progressive Democrat in a very red state, was reelected for a second term.
Buttigieg came out publicly as gay in an open letter printed in the South Bend Tribune in 2015, shortly before the Supreme Court's ruling on federal marriage equality, making him Indiana's first openly gay executive and that state's highest elected official to come out.
He married his longtime partner, teacher Chasten Glezman, last summer, and has revealed they met on a dating app. During a January press conference, Buttigieg described his marriage as “the most important thing in my life.”
At the top of his presidential campaign announcement speech, Buttigieg thanked his husband, "my love" Chasten, "for giving me the strength to do this and the grounding to be myself as we go." Chasten later joined his husband at the podium, where they embraced and shared a kiss.
If Buttigieg wins the Democratic nomination, he would become the first openly gay presidential nominee from a major political party.
Last month at the LGBTQ Victory Fund National Champagne Brunch, Buttigieg said he wished the "Mike Pences of the world would understand that if you've got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me—your quarrel, sir, is with my creator."
The progressive Christian candidate later addressed Vice President and former Indiana Governor Pence’s comments accusing Buttigieg of criticizing Pence's faith. "I don’t have a problem with religion," he told Ellen DeGeneres. "I’m religious, too. I have a problem with religion being used as a justification to harm people, and especially in the LGBTQ community."
Time portentously named the Buttigiegs “First Family” on a recent cover.