Pete Buttigieg, the openly gay mayor of Southbend, Ind., on Sunday challenged Vice President Mike Pence’s traditional Christian views on sexuality and said that his marriage to a man has brought him “closer to God.”
“Being married to Chasten has made me a better human being because it has made me more compassionate, more understanding, more self-aware and more decent,” he said at the LGBTQ Victory Fund’s annual brunch.
“My marriage to Chasten has made me a better man. And yes, Mr. Vice President, it has moved me closer to God,” he added to applause.
Pence has long opposed gay marriage due to his belief in the traditional Christian conception of marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
In 2004, while serving as a Congressman representing Indiana, Pence co-sponsored a proposed Constitutional amendment that would enshrine heterosexual marriage as the only permissible form of marriage in the U.S. He also voted against repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that required gay service members to conceal their sexual orientation.
Buttigieg, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, went on to argue that any opposition to his identity as a gay man translates into opposition to God.
“That’s the thing that I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand,” he said. “That if you have a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”
The Navy veteran then attacked the Trump administration’s attempts to ban transgender people from the military.
“The struggle is not over when transgender troops, ready to put their lives on the line for this country, have their careers threatened with ruin one tweet at a time by a commander in chief who himself pretended to be disabled to get out of serving when it was his turn,” he said.