Gay presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has said that countries where homosexuality is illegal will “have to get used to” a gay US president if he is elected.
The Democratic presidential hopeful made the comments at a campaign event in Iowa when an attendee asked him: “How do you intend to deal with international leaders from countries like Saudi Arabia and Russia, where it’s illegal to be gay?”
Buttigieg responded: “So, they’re going to have to get used to it,” to applause from the gathered crowd.
He continued: “One great thing about America is that when we’re at our best, we have challenged places around the world to acknowledge freedom, and include more people in more ways.
Pete Buttigieg brought the focus back to how LGBT+ people are treated in countries like Saudi Arabia and Russia.
“Whether it is by policy or just by example, America is at her best when we have done that.”
However, Buttigieg also noted that it is more important to focus on how countries are treating their LGBT+ citizens.
One great thing about America is that when we’re at our best, we have challenged places around the world to acknowledge freedom, and include more people in more ways.
“The problem, of course, is how people are being treated in those countries, and while we can’t intervene in every country and make them be good to their people, I do believe that one big step forward would be for a country like the United States to be led by somebody that people in those other countries can look to and know that they’re not alone.”
Asked how he’d intend to deal with international leaders from countries like Saudi Arabia and Russia, where it’s illegal to be gay, @PeteButtigieg says “They’re gonna have to get used to it” and sent the crowd into a loud applause.
While homosexuality is illegal in Saudi Arabia, the situation is slightly more complicated in Russia, where “gay propaganda” is outlawed – meaning people cannot promote homosexuality.
Buttigieg’s sexuality has been a major talking point in his campaign.
If Buttigieg is selected as the Democractic candidate for the 2020 presidential election, he will be the first openly gay official candidate in US history.
Since the South Bend mayor announced his candidacy, his sexuality has been a major talking point. While he has garnered significant support from some sections of American society – including LGBT+ people – there are concerns that his sexual orientation could go against him in other areas.
An internal focus group for Buttigieg in July questioned 24 uncommitted black Democratic voters to determine how he was faring among that population, and found that a number were unhappy with his sexuality.
The 21-page report obtained by McClatchy revealed that “being gay was a barrier for these voters, particularly for the men who seemed deeply uncomfortable even discussing it”.
It adds: “Their preference is for his sexuality to not be front and centre.”