Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg on Sunday again took on Vice President Mike Pence – whose stances on LGBTQ issues have faced criticism from gay rights activists – saying that if Pence has “a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me – your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”
Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, made the comments while speaking at the LGBTQ Victory Fund National Champagne Brunch in Washington. He reflected on his personal struggles with his sexuality, his decision to come out in 2015 and the fact that his being gay is not the result of a personal decision.
“If me being gay was a choice, it was a choice that was made far, far above my pay grade,” Buttigieg said. “And that’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand. That if you got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me – your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”
Buttigieg’s comments came hours after he made critical comments about evangelical voters’ support of President Donald Trump during an appearance on “Meet The Press.”
“It’s something that really frustrates me because the hypocrisy is unbelievable,” Buttigieg said. “Here you have somebody who not only acts in a way that is not consistent with anything that I hear in scripture in church.”
During his Victory Fund speech, Buttigieg said that, while he was growing up, he wished he wasn’t gay, but his marriage to his husband, Chasten Buttigieg, has made him a better person and has brought him closer to God. The two started dating four years ago and got married last June.
Pence has drawn the ire of members of the LGBTQ community in the past for his positions on various LGBTQ issues. A staunch conservative Christian, he signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act while he was governor of Indiana. Critics of the law contend that individuals and businesses could use it to discriminate against the gay community on the basis of religion.
Pence also signaled support for federal funds to be allocated for gay “conversion therapy” on his 2000 US House campaign website, where it said “resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”
CNN’s Jamie Ehrlich, Katie Bernard and Amanda Golden contributed to this report.