Chasten Buttigieg, who is married to Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg, proved worthy of his reputation as his husband’s “not-so-secret weapon” by delivering a memorable, quick-witted speech over the weekend in Texas.
Speaking at Saturday’s Human Rights Campaign gala in Houston, the junior high school teacher called his marriage “the adventure of a lifetime,” noting how much his life has changed in the weeks since his husband ― the current mayor of South Bend, Indiana ― announced his presidential campaign in January.
“I now live in a world where people take photos of me in the deodorant aisle at the grocery store,” Buttigieg said. “But it is not lost on me that I was able to marry the man I love by the grace of one Supreme Court vote.”
Telling the crowd to “never underestimate what can happen when you agree to go on a date with a cute guy from South Bend, Indiana,” Buttigieg joked about what his role might look like if his husband is victorious in 2020.
“I could be the first man in history to pick out the White House china,” he quipped.
In the remainder of the speech, Buttigieg candidly touched on his family’s struggles to come to terms with his sexuality early on and took a dig at Vice President Mike Pence, who has opposed same-sex marriage and other LGBTQ rights.
“My husband Pete Buttigieg ― you can call him Mayor Pete ― was commissioned as a naval intelligence officer when ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ was still the law of the land, and served a seven-month tour in Afghanistan when a certain vice president was governor of his home state,” Buttigieg said.
He also said that, if elected, his husband would be sure to make the Equality Act ― a comprehensive nondiscrimination bill seen by many as the LGBTQ rights movement’s top legislative priority ― a political reality.
“We need someone in the White House who will sign the Equality Act into law, and luckily I know a guy,” he said. “Peter is ready to serve our country in the highest office, and just as importantly, I think America is ready for him.”
“At a time when campaigns are treading cautiously, and spouses are navigating a new set of gender minefields, Buttigieg seems relaxed, unscripted, free to be himself,” Joanna Weiss wrote in Politico on March 29. “And that freedom has turned this historic figure, the first same-sex husband of a major-party presidential candidate, into something surprising: the most traditional political spouse in the field.”