Vice President Mike Pence — Photo: CNBC
Vice President Mike Pence isn’t happy that Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg took aim at Pence’s homophobia over the weekend.
In an appearance before the LGBTQ Victory Fund’s Champagne Brunch, Buttigieg needled Pence while discussing his marriage to husband Chasten.
“My marriage to Chasten has made me a better man,” he said to applause. “And yes, Mr. Vice President, it has moved me closer to God.
“You may be religious and you may not,” he added. “But if you are, and you are also queer, and you have come through the other side of a period of wishing that you weren’t, then you know that message, the idea that there is something wrong with you, is a message that puts you at war, not only with yourself, but with your Maker.
“And, speaking only for myself, I can tell you that if being gay was a choice, it was a choice made far, far above my pay grade,” Buttigieg continued. “And that’s the thing I wish 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.”
But Pence apparently wasn’t impressed at being called out publicly by Buttigieg.
In an interview with CNBC, Pence said that Buttigieg was attacking him for attention in a crowded Democratic field.
Asked by CNBC’s Joe Kernen if it was “fair to use you as the Boogeyman” on LGBTQ issues, Pence said that Buttigieg should “know better.”
“I worked very closely with Mayor Pete when I was governor of the state of Indiana,” Pence said. “We had a great working relationship. He said some things that are critical of my Christian faith and of me personally. He knows better. He knows me.”
He continued: “I get it. They got 19 people running for president on that side in a party that’s sliding off to the left and they’re all competing with one another for how much more liberal they can be.”
Kernen noted that the country had “evolved to some extent on marriage equality, on gay rights” and asked Pence if his views have also evolved.
Pence said the Supreme Court had “made their decision” and that, as Governor of Indiana, the state “fully implemented that decision in the law.”
“I have my Christian values, my family and I have a view of marriage that’s informed by our faith and we stand by that,” he continued. “But that doesn’t mean that we’re critical of anyone else who has a different point of view.”
Buttigieg responded to Pence’s claims that they had a “great working relationship” in a tweet.
“People will often be polite to you in person, while advancing policies that harm you and your family,” Buttigieg wrote. “You will be polite to them in turn, but you need not stand for such harms. Instead, you push back, honestly and emphatically. So it goes, in the public square.”
And Pence was further criticized on social media for his assertion that he had somehow helped to implement marriage equality in Indiana.
Drew Anderson, Director of News & Rapid Response at GLAAD, noted that Pence only worked to implement same-sex marriage while governor “BECAUSE HE HAD TO.”
Anderson noted that, prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of marriage equality, Pence had actively campaigned for HJR-3 — legislation that would have included a ban on same-sex marriage to Indiana’s Constitution.
“[Pete Buttigieg] helped show Americans what [Indiana Democrats] have known for years,” Anderson tweeted, “when Mike Pence is publicly criticized on LGBTQ issues, he retreats and plays the victim. Fact: Mike Pence wants LGBTQ people to be second-class citizens. His record proves it.”
Sheena Anne Kadi, Deputy Field Director for Freedom Indiana between 2013 and 2014, responded to Anderson’s tweet noting that Pence had fought their campaign for same-sex marriage “every single step of the way.”