It’s been a hell of a week for Pete Buttigieg. The fact that he’s polling so high is amazing and it makes me proud that an openly gay man is doing so well. He’s not my pick (Elizabeth Warren is far more qualified), but his campaign is historic and I love it.
Not so lovable is what Buttigieg was quoted as saying, but in reality didn’t say, about President Obama. In the Las Angeles Times, Buttigieg was quoted lamenting the “failures of the Obama era.” What he actually said, according to the person who interviewed him and wrote the story, was “failures of the old normal.”
What do they say? A lie can make it around the world before the truth even gets its boots on? Well, the correction to Buttigieg’s Obama remark was, how should I put this? Have you ever watched a toddler try to pull his pants off while still wearing shoes? It was doing that while the quote went viral.
Democratic candidate for president Julián Castro jumped on the quote Tweeting to Buttigieg that he misspelled “Mitch McConnell.” Castro deleted the Tweet after the correction was made. But the damage was done.
I’ve listened to the now-released audio that the writer transcribed. Buttigieg clearly says “the old normal.” While some people are saying this is still blaming Obama in a backhanded way, I would like to point out that there were a lot of other presidents who came before him. I would also like to point out that it isn’t sacrilegious to criticize Obama. But it also wouldn’t be super smart in the Democratic primary, especially for a candidate like Buttigieg who is polling in the single digits with black voters.
There are many theories about why this is. You can read countless think pieces about whether or not it has to do with Buttigieg being gay. In a Democratic field this large, and in a political climate so fraught, there are many reasons why an unconventional candidate like Buttigieg might not be doing well here: he’s young, he’s gay, he’s inexperienced, he’s [fill in the blank].
But for some folks, it’s definitely the gay part.
For example, take Bishop Paul S. Morton Sr., founder of the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International.
“Dems I pray U will use wisdom in voting. Being too liberal will not win,” Morton tweeted Nov. 2. “I am not Homophobic. But it is definitely not the time 4 POTUS 2b a man with his husband up there by his side. There are those of us who love everybody. But we believe in the Biblical Definition of Marriage.”
Folks on Twitter piled on with the obvious, many of them pointing out that the only people who say, “I’m not homophobic, but…” are homophobes. Many others said this is why they stopped going to church. Scrolling through replies, very few are in support of Morton’s ideas.
I can understand that folks are concerned about the electability of whatever candidate the Democrats ultimately nominate. But Morton’s reason for being anti-Buttigieg is absolutely homophobic.
Morton doesn’t want “a man with his husband up there by his side” to be the nominee. Have you seen Chasten and Pete Buttigieg? They are an absolutely beautiful couple with a marriage that, by all public appearances, seems very solid and healthy. To treat Chasten like he’s a liability is hateful and wrong.
Morton claims to “love everybody.” Well, actually he claims to “love everybody BUT…”
“But we believe in the Biblical Definition of Marriage,” he wrote.
Love can take many forms and be expressed in many different ways, but I call bullshit on any love that comes with denial of my right to marry the person I love.
Morton defended himself by pointing out that Obama said in 2008 that he believed that marriage was between one man and one woman and he “never was called homophobic.”
Let me be clear: Obama’s position on marriage then was, indeed, homophobic. But he grew and changed, as Morton acknowledges.
Morton tweeted: “But the Bible has not changed. Me either. So I’m not homophobic I’m Biblical.”
Bible-based rejection of the equality of LGBTQ people is still homophobic no matter how many times Morton claims he isn’t on Twitter.
Morton does not support Trump. “Goal is 2 get #45 out,” he tweeted. He writes that it will be hard for “not only a Gay” but also a liberal, “even Black,” to win.
“2020 Trump will get back in without wisdom,” he wrote. “That’s not homophobic it’s truth.”
But he didn’t call Buttigieg out for being liberal. He called Buttigieg out for being gay.
And that is definitely homophobic. D’Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer and comedian living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBT politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.