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Anti-Gay Pundit Explains Why Pete Buttegieg is Fair Game

by Kilian Melloy
Thursday May 2, 2019

Bryan Fischer, a onetime leader of the virulently anti-LGBTQ American Family Association and host of a talk show on American Family Radio, claimed during his show "Focal Point" last month that if conservatives are attacking 2020 presidential hopeful and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg for being gay, that's only fair — because, Fischer argues, progressives had the gall to question Trump's several marriages, rumored affairs, and other shenanigans.

Right Wing Watch reported on Fischer's rhetorical version of Twister, noting that "progressives were not so much criticizing Trump as they were highlighting the absurd hypocrisy of Republican evangelical voters supporting Trump despite his various divorces, infidelities, and transgressions while simultaneously claiming to be the party of God and 'family values.'"

None of that seemed to matter to Fischer, just as none of it seems to matter to any anti-LGBTQ evangelicals who support Trump and the policy appeasements he has promised to politically-focused hard-right Christians.

Venturing far beyond the quaint "character counts" tropes of old, Fischer presented the issue as a kind of quid pro quo, RWR reported.

"By making a candidate or a public official's private sexual life an issue, then you are telling us that we are justified by making it an issue with Pete Buttigieg," the article quoted Fischer as saying.

"If you do not want us to make his sexual behavior an issue, then you better stop talking about Donald Trump and what he did 12, 13 years ago and the years before that. Just cut it out.

"You keep talking about Donald Trump and his sexual peccadilloes, then you are giving us permission to talk about Pete Buttigieg and his sexual indiscretions," Fischer added.

The problem being... what sexual indiscretions? For anti-LGBTQ evangelicals, simply being a sexual minority is an "indiscretion," as well as a "sin," because, they purport to believe, being anything but heterosexual is a matter of "choice."

But the happily-married Buttigieg has no scandals or true indiscretions to worry about as far as anyone can tell. In fact, the hard right was so hard up for dirt on Buttigieg that two "provocateurs" reportedly attempted to recruit gay male Trump supporters to falsely attest that Buttigieg had sexually assaulted them. One of the men reportedly approached by blogger Jacob Wohl and lobbyist Jack Burkman — a college student named Hunter Kelly — even found his name attached, without his consent, to a bogus report claiming that Buttigieg had assaulted him.

The real Hunter Kelly immediately took to Facebook to decry the false report and debunk the story as an utter and absolute lie. Another gay Republican also came forward to relate how Burkman and Wohl had attempted to coax him into an identical scheme targeting Buttigieg. And the pair allegedly tried to recruit women in an attempt to use the same tactic against Robert Mueller, evidently as a means of delegitimizing Mueller's investigation into questions around Trump's 2016 campaign and subsequent attempts by the president to obstruct justice.

The issue of hypocrisy in the way evangelicals sidestep and ignore Trump's multiple marriages and supposed infidelities — including a rumored affair with a porn actress and subsequent payment of hush money — has led to seeming absurdities like Tony Perkins — leader of the Family Research Council, another anti-LGBTQ hate group — declaring that America's hardcore religious faithful "gave him a mulligan" when it came to sexual sin.

More recently, indefatigably anti-gay former politician Rick Santorum — whose enmity toward LGBTQs earned him the distinction of his surname being repurposed to connote a byproduct of enthusiastic sexual intercourse between males — actually stepped up to Buttigieg's defense recently and said that those who seek to hold being gay against the South Bend, Indiana mayor should do the same when it comes to Trump's heterosexually sinful conduct.




More recently, Fischer addressed questions around Trump associate Franklin Graham calling on Buttigieg to "repent" for being gay by trotting out the tried-and-trite talking point of gay sexual "sin" being enough to send souls straight to a mythical pit of fire.

Graham took to Facebook after Buttigieg said at a town hall that "God does not have a political party." Graham's not-quite-relevant riposte to Buttigieg's point? Essentially, this: That Buttigieg, and all other gays, are sinners who need to stop "flaunting" their untold gayness.

Buttigieg has been perfectly upfront and straightforward during his campaign about being gay and married to another man. But so far, it's the anti-gay crowd who have made an issue of it, flaunting - as it were - their opposition to Buttigieg's authenticity. Homophobic hecklers attempted to get a rise out of Buttigieg when he spoke in Iowa last month, but the famously cool and collected candidate simply brushed them off and stuck to his message.

Media sourced noted that Fischer seemed entirely fluent with terminology from the gay community regarding sexual roles like "top" and "bottom." But though Fischer knew the difference, he proclaimed a common fate for those who take either position: Eternity in Hell, which is the usual threat from anti-gay Christians when they are talking about a supposed afterlife, rather than busily making plans for how to attack LGBTQs in this one.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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