Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg told Ellen DeGeneres that Vice President Mike Pence should come out in favor of workplace protections for LGBTQ people.
“I’m not interested in feuding with the vice president,” Buttigieg said. “But if he wanted to clear this (feud) up, he could come out today and say he’s changed his mind, that it shouldn’t be legal to discriminate against anybody in this country for who they are.”
Buttigieg’s latest response to his fellow Hoosier came during an interview for The Ellen DeGeneres Show. DeGeneres released a clip of the show in advance (see below) and will air a longer cut of the interview today.
Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Ind., served at the same time Pence, as governor of Indiana, signed the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Now a Democratic candidate for president, Buttigieg slammed Pence this weekend during a speech at the Victory Fund brunch. Pence responded, saying he always had a good working relationship with Buttigieg, and that he considered the out candidate’s recent critiques a politically expedient attack on his religion.
“He said some things that are critical of my Christian faith and of me personally. He knows better. He knows me,” Pence said. “I get it. They got 19 people running for president on that side in a party that’s sliding off to the left.”
But Buttigieg said the words were not an attack on religion at all. Buttigieg indeed speaks frequently of his faith.
“I don’t have a problem with religion, I’m religious too,” he told DeGeneres. “I have a problem with religion being used as a justification to harm people.”
DeGeneres agreed, noting faith has been used against queer people in the past.
“There’s nothing wrong with religion, it’s really good for a lot of people and it works for a lot of people,” DeGeneres said. “But religion is used sometimes to justify. They say, ‘It says here in the Bible, this.’ I know you are a religious person, so what do you say to that?”
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) April 12, 2019
Buttigieg said it’s important politicians represent both those with faith and those with none. But he said his own reading of scripture focused on helping people, not discrimination.
“When I’m in church, the scripture I hear is about taking care of the least among us,” he said. “It’s about lifting up those who are most vulnerable, about visiting the prisoner, taking care of the sick and welcoming the stranger.
“It’s a message that is fundamentally about love — love and humility.”
DeGeneres raised concerns of some that Buttigieg’s candidacy is problematic to those who want a different type of diversity. Specifically, she mentioned many were disappointed America didn’t elect its first female president in 2016.
Buttigieg said he was upset about that too.
“In the end, you’ve got to vote for the person who best meets your values and who is best able to lead the country,” he said. “You may decide that’s me and you may decide that’s somebody else.”
But if wins the Democratic nomination, he committed to considering a female running mate and promised diversity in his administration.
“The next president is going to have to make sure that that administration, at senior levels, has gender balance especially, if the next president turns out to be male,” he said.
“Gender balance and diversity in general is going to be very important and that starts with the ticket.”