Midwest Mayor's Op-Ed Makes Waves

Pete Buttigieg of South Bend: Being gay is 'part of who I am'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2015 8:11 AM CDT
Midwest Mayor's Op-Ed Makes Waves
In this Feb. 12, 2014 photo, South Bend, Ind. mayor Pete Buttigieg delivers his State of the City address at the Century Center in South Bend.   (AP Photo/South Bend Tribune, Robert Franklin)

The Democratic mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is speaking out about his support for gay marriage—though not for the first time—and offering up a very personal reason: "I was well into adulthood before I was prepared to acknowledge the simple fact that I am gay," Pete Buttigieg, an Afghanistan veteran, writes in the South Bend Tribune. "It took years of struggle and growth for me to recognize that it's just a fact of life, like having brown hair, and part of who I am." He adds that "putting something this personal on the pages of a newspaper does not come easy," but, "at a moment like this, being more open about it could do some good." In particular, Buttigieg, 33, says his announcement may help teenagers struggling with their sexuality and show conservatives that "a familiar face can be a reminder that we're all in this together."

Mashable reports the op-ed reached 25,000 likes just hours after it was posted. Comments ranged from "Bravo, Mr. Mayor," to "Please, do us all a huge favor. Run for governor, next!" though a few negative ones also dotted the page. The South Bend Tribune reports the op-ed "drew a quick and largely positive response in local, statewide and even national political circles." Buttigieg's Republican opponent for mayor says homosexuality is a sin, but still commends him "for having the bits to come out of the closet, because not everyone is willing to come out." A city council member says he also applauds Buttigieg's decision, but suggests the timing is suspicious. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on gay marriage in the coming days, which is partly what Buttigieg says motivated his op-ed. (Read more Indiana stories.)

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