TIME magazine put South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg and his partner Chasten on the cover this week, calling them America’s first family.
The Democratic presidential hopeful told supporters in Minnesota, “Tomorrow morning, if you feel like it, you can go to the newsstand and you can grab a copy of TIME Magazine. And you can see the headline, ‘First Family’ and you’re going to see a picture of a man and his husband sitting side by side.”
— TIME (@TIME) May 2, 2019
“Running for office is an act of hope. Sending money to somebody running for office is an act of hope. Staying on your feet in a crowded venue and listening to somebody running for office is an act of hope,” he added.
In 2015, just as Buttigieg was beginning to come out privately to friends and family members, Indiana’s then Governor Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which allowed local businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ people. Later that year, at the height of his re-election campaign, Buttigieg wrote an op-ed in the South Bend Tribune to announce he was gay. It was more of a personal calculation than a political one, he says: given his job, he couldn’t openly date until his constituents knew the truth. He feared it would cost him re-election, but he won with 80% of the vote.
He believes independents and moderate conservatives could get behind a happily married Christian veteran. And he may be right. “Pete has a way of rallying people and getting them to come along with him,” says Jake Teshka, former executive director of the St. Joseph County GOP and the only Republican on the South Bend city council. “That’s what makes him dangerous as a candidate for the rest of the Democratic field. I can’t sit here and tell you that if he makes it through and he’s on the ballot in 2020 that I would vote for Pete. But I also can’t tell you that I won’t.”
And his partner, Chasten has seen a huge bump in popularity as well, with some news outlets calling him a secret weapon.
11 years ago, when I came out, I didn’t think there was a place for me in this world.
10 months ago we said “I do.”
1 month ago we said “let’s do this.”
— Chasten Buttigieg (@Chas10Buttigieg) May 2, 2019