DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Democrat Pete Buttigieg, who hopes to become the first openly gay presidential nominee from a major political party, said at an LGBTQ event Saturday that activists must band together to deny President Donald Trump a second term.
“We’ve got a lot to worry about, a lot to fight for, but we have the means to do it,” he said. The mayor of South Bend, Indiana, stressed the need for people to vote and to become involved in politics.
Speaking before an audience gathered for Des Moines LGBTQ pride festivities in front of the Iowa statehouse, Buttigieg accused the Trump administration of lacking a clear answer about whether people can be fired from their job for being gay.
In a 2017 Supreme Court case brought by a man who said he was fired from his job when he revealed he was gay, the Justice Department argued that federal protections did not cover sexual orientation. But the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a brief supporting the plaintiff in the case.
Buttigieg also railed against policies by the department of State and Health and Human Services that he said prevent same-sex couples from adopting children internationally, and prevent transgender Americans from getting health care.
Seven other candidates planned to speak at the event in the capital.
On Friday night, Buttigieg attended a dinner honoring Matthew Shepard, the young gay man whose brutal 1998 beating and murder heightened national awareness on the issue of gay rights, and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was behind the bar at a gay bar.