Pete Buttigieg heckled several times by homophobic protesters at Texas event; Beto O'Rourke comes to his defense
Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg was subjected to homophobic heckling during an event in Texas on Friday night on four separate occasions.
When Buttigieg was speaking at the Dallas County Democratic Party’s Johnson Jordan Dinner, he was interrupted by anti-LGBT+ remarks. "Marriage is between a man and a woman," shouted one protester, "repent," added another, according to CNN’s DJ Judd, who was present at the event. The captured footage accompanying the tweet shows a woman being told to leave the venue. "What about the babes? He wants to kill babies," she can be heard arguing as security ushers her out the back door.
After the fourth heckler, all of whom were part of a group for "truth and justice" who oppose same-sex marriage and abortion, tried disrupting the event, Buttigieg reminded his audience of why he decided to enroll in the military and serve in the Middle East.
"I packed my bags for Afghanistan to defend that man’s speech," Buttigieg took to stage, prompting a round of applause.
The Mayor of South Bend Indiana also stated to the audience that it was a "lively room" and added that he was "just thinking of that scripture that says bless and do not curse."
The hecklers are believed to have come from a group led by Randal Terry, who founded the anti-abortion organization Operation Rescue in the 1980s. "The good news is the condition of my soul is in the hands of God, but the Iowa caucuses are up to you," Buttigieg responded as the protesters were ushered away. "Remember the beauty of our democracy. Everyone here gets the exact same voice and vote. Feels like the numbers are on our side," he added.
Buttigieg came out as gay just four years ago when he was 33 and is the first gay Democratic presidential candidate in US history. As a result of his sexual orientation, Buttigieg has been heckled a number of times already early in the campaign trail, including at an event in Fort Dodge, Iowa, in April.
However, this time fellow presidential candidate and former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke was quick to defend Buttigieg on Twitter.
"Texans don’t stand for this kind of homophobia and hatred," O'Rourke wrote. "Mayor Pete, we are grateful you came to Texas and hope to see you and Chasten back again soon."
Buttigieg has emerged as a serious contender, placing third in the late April polls at a ranking of 5%. Only Joe Biden (17%) and Bernie Sanders (11%) are ahead of him.