“If They Want To Debate Family Values, Let’s Debate Family Values, I’m Ready”

(screen capture via CNN)

Some folks in the LGBTQ community have said they aren’t sure if former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is ‘gay enough,’ but judging by the shade he dropped here, I think he can more than represent.

During last night’s CNN Town Hall event, Buttigieg’s response to recent comments by conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh about his sexual orientation earned him the biggest applause of the night.

Last week, Limbaugh asked his listeners if they could imagine Donald Trump “having fun” with the idea of Buttigieg kissing his husband, Chasten, after a debate. He added that “America’s still not ready to elect a gay guy kissing his husband on the debate stage.”

Rushbo’s stance seemed to be that Democrats were uncomfortable with the idea of Pete and Chasten exchanging PDAs. 

Note – it’s very common for candidates to hug/kiss their spouses after a debate event. Why a hug between the Buttigiegs would be ‘too much’ isn’t quite clear.

Limbaugh also wondered aloud how parents would “explain” Buttigieg kissing his husband to their children.

This point became an instant meme with folks referencing Donald Trump’s infamous Access Hollywood statement: “How do you explain ‘Grab’em by the p*ssy’ to your children?”

The next day, Fox News personality Geraldo Rivera asked Trump about Limbaugh’s comments. Trump said that he could see Americans voting for an openly gay candidate. “There would be a group that probably wouldn’t, but you or I wouldn’t be in that group.”

On Sunday, during an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union, Dana Bash asked Buttigieg to respond to Limbaugh’s remarks.

“Well, I love my husband. I’m faithful to my husband. Onstage, we usually just go for a hug, but I love him very much,” Buttigieg said. “And I’m not going to take lectures on family values from the likes of Rush Limbaugh.”

Fast forward to last night’s event on CNN, Erin Burnett asked Buttigieg about the comments from Limbaugh (who’s been married four times) and Trump (who’s been married three times): “Publicly, Trump says he would not have a problem supporting a gay candidate? Do you take him at his word?”

“Not if he’s sending out his supporters to talk in this way,” answered Buttigieg. “The idea of the likes of Rush Limbaugh or Donald Trump lecturing anybody on family values?”

“I’m sorry, but one thing about my marriage is it’s never involved me having to send hush money to a porn star after cheating on my spouse with him or her,” added the former mayor to a roaring ovation. “So if they want to debate family values, let’s debate family values, I’m ready.”

You can watch the exchange below.

Six of the Democratic candidates, including Buttigieg, will take to the debate stage tonight in Las Vegas in advance of Saturday’s Nevada caucuses.

The debate will be broadcast live on NBC News, MSNBC and Universo (in Spanish) beginning at 9 p.m. ET.

What do you think?