In a powerful speech delivered Sunday, presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg said that there was a time when he would have done anything not to be gay.

Speaking at an LGBTQ Victory Fund brunch in Washington, D.C., Buttigieg, who married his husband Chasten last year, reiterated that he came out because he was ready to fall in love, but getting to that point was a struggle for the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

“When I was younger, I would have done anything to not be gay,” Buttigieg said. “When I began to halfway realize what it meant that I felt the way I did about people I saw in the hallway at school or in the dining hall in college, it launched in me something I can only describe as a kind of war.”

“If you had offered me a pill to make me straight, I would have swallowed it before you would have time to give me a sip of water. It's a hard thing to think about now. It's hard to face the truth that there were times in my life when if you had shown me exactly what it was inside me that made me gay, I would have cut it out with a knife.”

“And the reason it's so awful to think about isn't just the knowledge that so many young people struggling to come to terms with their sexuality or their gender identity do just that – they harm themselves, figuratively or literally. But the real reason it's so hard to think about is if I had a chance to do that, I never would have found my way to Chas. That the best thing in my life, my marriage, might not have happened at all.”

“Thank God there was no pill. Thank God there was no knife,” he added.

Buttigieg also took a swipe at Vice President Mike Pence, the former governor of Indiana and a vocal opponent of LGBT rights, including marriage equality.

“Being married to Chasten has made me a better human being. … And yes Mr. Vice President, it has moved me closer to God,” Buttigieg said.

In introducing his husband, Buttigieg said that America was falling in love with Chasten, just like he did.