(CNSNews.com) - South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, buoyed by his strong showing in Iowa and move upward in the New Hampshire polls, was asked about his homosexuality at Thursday night's CNN-hosted debate.
Where he once saw his sexual orientation as a liability, Buttigieg said it is now "part of the impact" he is having on other people who wonder if they "belong."
Yeah, I mean, everyone's story is different. But the thing I want people to hear is that it gets better. And this really was something that I-- I would have done anything, at a certain time in my life, I would have done anything not to be gay, and believed that, as that reality became inescapable, that it might cost the chance to serve, in uniform or in office.
And here I am, now finding that that very same fact that I thought might prevent me from having an impact in the world, at least a certain kind of impact in a certain kind of way, is actually very much part of the impact I get to have now.
I mean, I'm not running to be the gay president of the United States, I'm running to be a president for everybody. But talk about God having a sense of humor.
And so my hope is that -- because I know right now there are so many, especially young people, who question whether they fit in their own family, in their community, as they come to terms with who they are.
And we got a long way to go when it comes to LGBTQ equality right now. But I think that the fact that I'm standing here, the fact that my husband's in the audience watching right now, is just an amazing example of that belief that yes, yes, you belong. And this country has a place for you.
Buttigieg said he wouldn't be where he is without his husband Chastain:
When I was first -- when I was a bachelor mayor in South Bend, and honestly, kind of avoiding love because I wasn't ready for the consequences, I never understood how -- I'd go to events with my fellow mayors and elected officials ,and I didn't understand how anybody could possibly hold office and also have a family or a spouse. I just couldn't imagine how you'd have room for both.
And it's funny because now, I absolutely cannot possibly imagine that without Chasten cheering me on and also offering brutally honest feedback when I need it, and reminding me of who I am—
You know, when we had that conversation, before deciding to do this, he let me know he supported me and he's said that he's all in for this but a couple of things: We would always be true to who we are and our values, and we have to find some joy along the way. And he's been a partner in this whole thing. I quite simply couldn't do it without him. So.
(The audience applauded)
Host Chris Cuomo, someone who’s ever-eager to have the last word, commented, "Very interested to see how he (Chasten) liked that answer."
"We'll find out soon," Buttigieg laughed.