Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg was interrupted by religious hecklers shouting anti-gay messages during a speech Friday evening in Dallas.
The South Bend, Ind., mayor, who is openly gay, was addressing the Dallas County Democratic Dinner on Friday when his speech was interrupted at least four times by a group of protesters, according to CNN.
“Marriage is between a man and a woman,” one protester shouted.
“Repent,” another yelled.
Buttigieg reportedly continued speaking through the repeated interruption, noting that he served in Afghanistan “for the purpose of defending that gentleman’s freedom of speech,” referring to one of the protesters who interrupted him.
Pete Buttigieg has been interrupted four times here in Dallas by protesters. One yelled “Marriage is between a man and a woman!” Another yelled “Repent!” After the 4th, Buttigieg continued, “The moment I packed my bags for Afghanistan, to defend that man’s freedom of speech…” pic.twitter.com/zIpDSCIrti
— DJ Judd (@DJJudd) May 4, 2019
Buttigieg, who has been open about his Episcopalian faith, at one point deadpanned that it was a “lively room” and later added that he was “just thinking of that scripture that says bless and do not curse,” the Texas Tribune reported.
The audience applauded over the protests and chanted “Pete” to drown out the protesters, who were eventually escorted from the room by security.
The mayor has faced both public and personal attacks for his sexuality on the campaign trail, including an incident last month in which he was confronted by two protesters in Iowa shouting biblical references.
“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 in stride 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.
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke came to the defense of his fellow 2020 rival, apologizing to Buttigieg for the incident on Twitter.
“Texans don’t stand for this kind of homophobia and hatred. Mayor Pete, we are grateful you came to Texas and hope to see you and Chasten back again soon,” O’Rourke wrote.
Texans don’t stand for this kind of homophobia and hatred. Mayor Pete, we are grateful you came to Texas and hope to see you and Chasten back again soon. https://t.co/IhRDtIBREb
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) May 4, 2019