Metro Weekly

Pete Buttigieg interrupted by anti-gay protesters in Dallas

Protesters told Buttigieg to "repent" and decried his marriage to husband Chasten

Pete Buttigieg

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has once again had to deal with homophobic protesters, this time while campaigning in Dallas, Tex.

During a speech at a Dallas County Democratic Party event on Friday, May 3, Buttigieg was interrupted multiple times by anti-gay activists telling him to “repent,” among other things.

According to CNN’s DJ Judd, one protester shouted, “Marriage is between a man and a woman!” and another told Buttigieg he should “Repent!”

They also made references to Sodom and Gomorrah, saying the biblical cities were “reduced to ruin as a result of sinful acts — including sodomy.”

Buttigieg responded with the same calm demeanor and wit that he’s deployed in the face of similar anti-gay protests.

Reminding the audience of his military service — Buttigieg was deployed to Afghanistan as a Navy reserve while serving as Mayor of South Bend, Ind. — he said that he “packed my bags for Afghanistan to defend that man’s speech.”

He added that the room was “lively,” and said he was “just thinking of that scripture that says bless and do not curse.”

Fellow 2020 contender Beto O’Rourke criticized the protesters in a tweet, and said Texas was “grateful” Buttigieg came.

“Texans don’t stand for this kind of homophobia and hatred,” O’Rourke wrote. “Mayor Pete, we are grateful you came to Texas and hope to see you and Chasten back again soon.”

Buttigieg has faced a number of anti-gay moments during his candidacy. Last week, an allegation of sexual assault against Buttigieg by a young gay Republican was reportedly orchestrated by two far-right activists intent on derailing Buttigieg’s campaign.

In April, a far-right columnist branded Buttigieg a “sodomite” and the “king of cocks,” and claimed Buttigieg couldn’t be president because men wouldn’t vote for someone “effeminate.”

And while Buttigieg was campaigning in Iowa, an anti-gay protester dressed up as the presidential candidate and whipped Jesus while Satan watchedand encouraged.

Evangelical Trump supporter Franklin Graham also said that Buttigieg should ‘repent’ for being gay, accusing him of flaunting his sexuality and slamming his marriage to husband Chasten.

That outburst led to noted anti-gay Republican Rick Santorum defending Buttigieg, telling CNN’s New Day that if evangelicals are going to attack Buttigieg’s homosexuality as a sin, they shouldn’t turn a blind eye to Donald Trump’s three marriages and alleged infidelity.

Buttigieg has remained pragmatic in the face of homophobia. In Iowa, he told reporters that he takes protests as ” barometer of success, just something that we have to prepare for, along with all of the other things that you have to be ready for when you reach the top tier.”

Asked if it was “frustrating and offensive” to have protesters “dressed up as Satan and shouting Sodom and Gomorrah” at a gay candidate for President, Buttigieg said as President he’d have to deal with more challenging issues than “a little noise at an event.”

“I think when you’re in politics, especially at this level, you’re going to see the good, the bad, the ugly, and the peculiar,” he said. “And that’s just part of how it work. And you got to be prepared for that. Look, the next president is going to have to confront things a lot more challenging than being interrupted or having to talk over a little noise at an event. So it may be irritating, but it’s also part of the landscape.”

Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's managing editor. He can be reached at rmarr@metroweekly.com.

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