Metro Weekly

Buttigieg say’s he’s not going to “take lectures on family values” from Rush Limbaugh

Limbaugh's remarks underscore polling showing that a number of Americans won't vote for a gay or lesbian person

Pete Buttigieg – Photo: Gage Skidmore.

On Sunday, Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg responded to recent comments by talk radio host Rush Limbaugh disparaging his masculinity and sexual orientation, saying he’s not going to take “lectures on family values” from the anti-LGBTQ conservative.

Limbaugh, who was recently awarded with the prestigious Medal of Freedom by President Trump during Trump’s State of the Union address, gained attention last week after he disparaged Buttigieg, questioning how he would be viewed by Americans in comparison to Trump should he win the nomination.

“They’re looking at Mayor Pete, 37-year-old gay guy, mayor of South Bend, loves to kiss his husband on the debate stage,” Limbaugh said. “And they’re saying, ‘OK, how’s this going to look, 37-year-old gay guy kissing his husband on stage next to Mr. Man Donald Trump? What’s going to happen there?”

In an interview on Sunday with CNN’s Dana Bash on State of the Union, Buttigieg responded: “I love my husband. I’m faithful to my husband. On stage we usually just go for a hug. But I love him very much, and I’m not going take lectures on family values from the likes of Rush Limbaugh.”

In his rant, Limbaugh contended that there are a significant number of Americans who will have a problem with Buttigieg’s sexuality and his marriage to a man, saying “despite all the great progress and despite all the great wokeness, and despite all the great ground that’s been covered, America’s still not ready to elect a gay guy kissing his husband on the debate stage president.”

A recent Gallup poll reveals that only 78% of Americans say they’d be willing to vote for a gay or lesbian person if they were a party’s “well-qualified” candidate for president, compared to upwards of 90% for a candidate who was female, Jewish, Catholic, Hispanic, or black.

However, the bigger question may be whether a significant number of those who wouldn’t vote for a person because they were gay or lesbian would have voted for any Democrat for president — something Buttigieg’s campaign hopes to test as he seeks the party’s nomination, particularly in the South, where evangelicals make up a substantial amount of primary voters.

Buttigieg’s campaign was made painfully aware of this issue after a video went viral of a woman asking to retract her vote for Buttigieg in the Iowa caucuses after learning that he was in a same-sex relationship, saying she doesn’t want “anybody like that in the White House.”

President Trump, on the other hand, mused aloud about Buttigieg’s sexuality on a podcast with Fox News host Geraldo Rivera.

In that interview, Trump said that he wouldn’t have a problem voting for a gay candidate for president, noting that the former South Bend mayor’s sexual orientation “doesn’t seem to be hurting him very much” with voters.

Buttigieg currently leads in the delegate count for the Democratic nomination, with 23 pledged delegates, just narrowly ahed of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has 21 delegates.

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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