Appearing Friday on Ellen DeGeneres'
daytime talk show, presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg, the openly
gay mayor of South Bend, Indiana, called on Vice President Mike Pence
to support LGBT protections.
On the campaign trail, Buttigieg has
criticized Pence's opposition to LGBT rights.
As governor of Indiana, Pence signed a
bill into law that critics said would give business owners the right
discriminate against the LGBT community. He's also supported
therapies that attempt to alter the sexual orientation or gender
identity of people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender, which suggests he believes being LGBT is a choice. Pence
is also opposed to marriage equality.
In an emotional speech on Sunday,
Buttigieg took another swipe at Pence.
In that speech, Buttigieg talked about
how he struggled to come out and how his marriage to Chasten had
changed his life. “Thank God there was no pill [to make me
straight],” he said.
Victory Fund brunch, Pete Buttigieg says he would have done anything
not to be gay.)
“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 several interviews, Pence responded
that Buttigieg “should know better” than to criticize his
On Friday, Buttigieg told DeGeneres
that he wasn't criticizing Pence's faith. Rather he's criticizing how
Pence uses his religion to justify discrimination against the LGBT
“I’m not critical of his faith; I’m
critical of bad policies,” Buttigieg
told DeGeneres. “I don’t have a problem with religion. I’m
religious too. I have a problem with religion being used as a
justification to harm people and especially in the LGBTQ community.
So many people, even today, feel like they don’t belong. You can
get fired in so many parts of this country just for who you are and
that’s got to change.”
“And if the VP, I’m not interested
in feuding with the vice president, but if he wanted to clear this
up, he could come out today and say he’s changed his mind that it
shouldn’t be legal to discriminate against anybody in this country
for who they are,” Buttigieg said. “That’s all.”
DeGeneres also asked Buttigieg how he
reconciles his faith and sexuality.
“I think it is important for anybody
who steps into a political process to speak for people of any faith
and people of no faith,” Buttigieg explained. “So, when I talk
about my faith its not because I believe it should be imposed on
others, but it does guide me. And when I’m in church, the scripture
I hear is about taking care of the least among us, it’s about
lifting up those who are most vulnerable, and visiting the prisoner
and taking care of the sick and welcoming the stranger. That’s what
I hear when I hear scripture.”
“It’s a message that is
fundamentally about love, love and humility, humbling yourself before
God and putting other people before you. And, again, that doesn’t
have to be anybody else’s understanding of religion, but it’s
where Christianity takes me. And that does have implications for how
I behave in the political space,” he said.
Buttigieg is expected to formally
announce his presidential campaign on Sunday.