(CNSNews.com) - "How are you going to deal with the almost certain flood of personal attacks based on your sexual orientation?" a voter asked South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg at a CNN town hall Tuesday night.
"Well, it'll happen, and I'm ready," Buttigieg said.
He urged patience for people who "haven't quite found their way all the way to the right side of history," saying, "it's important to beckon them in the right direction."
Buttigieg used the example of a woman he knew in South Bend:
But I also think it's important to recognize that change on these issues and acceptance of equality, even though it's got a long way to go, it's also happened at a pace that a lot of people are struggling with.
And I think for those who haven't quite found their way all the way to the right side of history, it's important to beckon them in the right direction.
I remember not long after I started dating Chasten, and I ran into a woman I knew in South Bend. Older generation, a little more conservative, and she kind of gave me this mischievous pat on the arm.
She said, 'I met your friend the other day, he is wonderful. You know, that could have been a moment to give her a lecture on the difference between, you know, your friend and your partner.
But what I realized was, in her way, she was kind of inching toward the direction of acceptance, she felt good about it, she felt good that she was moving in that way.
And I think in a moment like this, it's really important that we find those who are maybe not quite there yet, and help them get there instead of clubbing them over the head and telling them they're bad people until they see it just the right way.
And I think that's a really important part of where our politics needs to go.
President Trump recently said he would be open to supporting a gay candidate, but Buttigieg said he isn't inclined to believe it, especially since Trump's friend and supporter Rush Limbaugh recently commented that "America’s still not ready to elect a gay guy kissing his husband on the debate stage."
"And I mean, look, the idea of the likes of Rush Limbaugh or Donald Trump lecturing anybody on family values?" Buttigieg said.
“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. So they want to debate family values, let's debate family values, I'm ready."