News and Commentary

Buttigieg May Appear Tolerant, But He Reportedly Supports Legislation That Could Target Religious People

For all his supposed tolerance, Democratic presidential contender Pete Buttigieg has, according to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), supported the Equality Act, which would endanger the constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of every citizen, including their religious freedoms, as the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) points out.

Buttigieg, who is gay and married to another man, is scheduled to keynote the Human Rights Campaign’s annual dinner on May 11. HRC issued a press release on Tuesday which stated, “Buttigieg is an outspoken advocate of the Equality Act—critically important, bipartisan legislation that would finally provide clear protections against discrimination for LGBTQ people across the country,” as The Washington Free Beacon reports.

The Equality Act was introduced in the House of Representatives last month. According to ADF’s Senior Vice President of U.S. Legal Division Kristen Waggoner:

Our laws should respect the constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of every citizen, but the so-called “Equality Act” fails to meet this basic standard. It would undermine women’s equality and force women and girls to share private, intimate spaces with men who identify as female, in addition to denying women fair competition in sports. Like similar state and local laws, it would force Americans to participate in events and speak messages that violate their core beliefs. But disagreement on important matters such as marriage and human sexuality is not discrimination. This bill—and similar proposals such as “Fairness for All”—undermine human dignity by threatening the fundamental freedoms of speech, religion, and conscience that the First Amendment guarantees for every citizen. Americans simply deserve better than the profound inequality proposed by this intolerant, deceptively titled legislation.

Buttigieg has opposed the Indiana version of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was signed by then-Governor Mike Pence. In 2015, Buttigieg wrote, “In the wake of the disastrous ‘Religious Freedom Restoration Act’ episode here in Indiana earlier this year, we have an opportunity to demonstrate how a traditional, religious state like ours can move forward.”

Yet as the Free Beacon notes, “He has at the same time emphasized the need for religious tolerance, telling the Intercept that ‘cynical politicians have stoked’ intolerance of Muslim believers ‘which only plays into the logic of terrorism that is designed to distance us from our own values and undermine pluralism in our country.’”

Terry Schilling, executive director of the American Principles Project, said bluntly, “Pete Buttigieg is entitled to his beliefs on sexual ethics. What Americans have a problem with is when those beliefs are used as an excuse to harm other people.”