US: LGBT Groups Want Pete Buttigieg to Be More Than the ‘Gay Candidate for President’

As an out Midwestern mayor whose résumé boasts both a Harvard diploma and a deployment to Afghanistan, Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg had no problem gaining the notice of LGBT politicos. After making history as the first gay candidate to qualify for a major-party primary debate, however, he has won their full attention.

By crossing the 65,000-donor threshold imposed by the Democratic National Committee for candidates who hope to participate in the first two primary debates, Buttigieg crashed through what one gay Democratic coordinator called the “rainbow ceiling,” and his campaign is actively courting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Democrats to join his growing base of support. But with a primary field as expansive—and almost uniformly pro-LGBT—as the party’s crop of 2020 hopefuls, LGBT political movers and shakers told The Daily Beast that Buttigieg has to do more than win a spot on the main stage to start earning their formal support.

“We are blessed on the Democratic side with a plethora of candidates that are great on our issues, and have a great history on our issues,” said Rod Townsend, president of the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City, who called issues like supporting marriage equality, non-discrimination legislation and LGBT military enlistment “a given in Democratic circles.”

“It’s not 2008, it’s not 2012, where it’s, ‘oh, you support marriage equality,’” Townsend said, which makes the hurdle for potential endorsement from the nation’s largest LGBT Democratic organizations a lot higher. Read more via Daily Beast