'I love my husband': Buttigieg responds to Limbaugh claiming America is not ready for a gay president

Savannah Behrmann, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – Pete Buttigieg said Sunday he would not take "lectures on family values" from long-time conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, who said that Democrats and America aren't ready for a gay president.

Limbaugh, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom during President Donald Trump's State of the Union speech, said on his show that Democrats are scared to elect Buttigieg.

"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?" the conservative radio host said. "They got to be looking at that, and they've got to be saying, that 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."

Appearing on CNN, Buttigieg, 38, responded.

 "Well, I love my husband. I'm faithful to my husband," Buttigieg said. "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."

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If Buttigieg won the Democratic nomination, he would be the first gay candidate to represent a major party in an election. He and his husband Chasten, a former middle school teacher, have been married since 2018. 

Buttigieg has had strong showings in the Democratic primary so far, claiming early victory in the Iowa caucuses and barely trailing behind Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT., in the New Hampshire primary.

Many of Buttigieg's Democratic competitors defended the former South Bend Mayor after Limbaugh's comments. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mas., tweeted that they were "hateful and offensive" while former Vice President Joe Biden called them "part of the depravity of this administration."

Trump has repeatedly said he has no problem with Buttigieg's sexual orientation and said he thought he could vote for a gay president.

Buttigieg has hit the administration, especially Vice President Mike Pence, over his stance on LGBTQ issues. Pence, the former Indiana governor, during his tenure leading the state signed into law a “religious freedom” bill that critics said was a license to discriminate against gay people. But soon after he signed the measure he also signed an amendment intended to make it clear that businesses in the state could not discriminate based on sexual orientation. 

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Touting his faith, Buttigieg said last year, “If me being gay was a choice, it was a choice that was made far, far above my pay grade. 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.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Buttigieg responds to Limbaugh homophobic remarks: 'I love my husband'