Openly gay Democratic hopeful Pete Buttigieg has officially launched his campaign to become President of the United States.
The mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is one of more than a dozen Democratic candidates vying to become the party’s challenger against Donald Trump in the US Presidential election next year.
Buttigieg – which is pronounced ‘boot-edge-edge’ – formally launched his campaign at a rally in his home state on Sunday.
“My name is Pete Buttigieg. They call me Mayor Pete. I am a proud son of South Bend, Indiana, and I am running for President of the United States,” he told the crowd.
“I recognize the audacity of doing this as a Midwestern millennial mayor. More than a little bold—at age 37—to seek the highest office in the land.
“But we live in a moment that compels us each to act. The forces changing our country today are tectonic.
“Forces that help to explain what made this current presidency even possible. This time it’s not just about winning an election, it’s about winning an era.”
The candidate also paid an emotional tribute to his husband Chasten “for giving me the strength to do this, and the grounding to be myself as we go.”
“Take it from Chasten and me, you’re not free if a county clerk gets to tell you who you ought to marry because their idea of their political beliefs,” he said, to cheers from the crowd.
“Our marriage exists by the grace of a single vote on the US Supreme Court.
“Nine women and men sat down in a room and took a vote, and brought me the most important freedom in my life.”
Polls last month found voters of Iowa and New Hampshire put Buttigieg in the third place among the 2020 Democratic Presidential contenders.
Earlier this month, Buttigieg made headlines for challenging Vice President Mike Pence on his opposition to gay rights policies.
“People talk about things like marriage equality as a moral issue, and it is certainly a moral issue as far as I’m concerned,” Buttigieg said.
“It’s a moral issue because being married to Chasten has made me a better human being — because it has made me more compassionate, more understanding, more self-aware and more decent.
“My marriage to Chasten has made me a better man and yes, Mr. Vice President, it has moved me closer to God.”
If elected, the 37-year-old would become both the first openly gay US President and the youngest.
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