Gay Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg rips into ‘fanatical’ Mike Pence

Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigeig arrives at a news conference January 23, 2019 in Washington, DC.

Gay Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg has hit out at the state’s former governor, Vice President Mike Pence.

Buttigieg, a gay Democrat who is running for President in 2020, hit out at Pence’s “fanatical” beliefs in an interview with CNN.

The Presidential hopeful has served as the mayor of South Bend in Indiana since 2012, repeatedly clashing with the state’s then-governor Mike Pence over LGBT+ issues.

Pete Buttigieg says Mike Pence is an ’embarrassment’ to Indiana

The mayor told CNN that Pence holds “far out” beliefs about LGBT+ people, with the Vice President frequently under scrutiny for his views on LGBT+ issues.

Pete Buttigieg said: “He genuinely believes things that most of us would consider really far out… he’s written that he thinks that cigarettes don’t kill.

“He seems to believe people like me just get up and decide to be gay. His worldview is one that is way out of step with the American mainstream.”

Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigeig speaks during a news conference January 23, 2019 in Washington, DC.

Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigeig speaks during a news conference January 23, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong/Getty)

Noting Pence’s anti-LGBT actions as Governor, he added: “We saw that in Indiana when he really embarrassed our state with policies that both Democrats and Republicans in not just the political world but the business community stepped up and said ‘hey you’re making us look like a backwards place at just the moment we’re trying to advance.’

“Unfortunately, he now has a national stage for some of those fanatical social ideas.”

He added: “My personal interactions with him have always been very civil and very decent, but it’s also simply true that politically he’s a fanatic and he damaged our city and our state through choices that his social extremism led him to make.”

Indiana faced boycott over Mike Pence’s anti-LGBT policies

Indiana faced an economic boycott in 2015, after Pence signed a ‘freedom to discriminate’ law, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The law opened up a path for individuals and businesses to legally discriminate against the LGBT community on the basis of religion.

The law led to immediate criticism from Indiana-born Apple CEO Tim Cook, and sustained boycott threats from a string of businesses that invest in the state, leading to a later amendment reducing its impact on LGBT people.

Pence also appeared unable to answer when asked whether it should be legal to fire people because of their sexuality in a subsequent interview after the controversy.

In the 2016 clip, Pence was asked: “Yes or no: do you believe gay and transgender people should be able to be fired from their jobs just for that reason only?”

After an awkward ten-second silence, Pence attempted to stall, responding: “It’s a great privilege to be your Governor.”

Fudging a response, he said: “My position as I expressed in the state of the State address is that we are a state with a constitution, and as you know… that constitution has very strong safeguards for freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.”