Chasten Buttigieg: Pence's lunch with Irish leader, partner doesn't mean he isn't 'anti-gay'

Chasten Buttigieg, the husband of 2020 presidential candidate Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegFormer insurance executive: 'Medicare for all' would eliminate jobs that are 'not needed' Buttigieg says he's proud to be a part of US system amid UK royal family drama Buttigieg asked about 'Mayo Pete' memes by New York Times ed board MORE, fired back at a White House aide who argued Vice President Pence couldn’t be “anti-gay” because he was having lunch with the openly gay leader of Ireland.

“I’ve sat at tables with people who would gladly deny me the right to marry, who openly support conversion therapy, and who adamantly believe being gay is a choice,” Chasten Buttigieg tweeted Monday. “Doesn’t mean they’re any less homophobic because we shared a meal.”

Chasten Buttigieg, a teacher, has been married to Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., since 2018. Pete Buttigieg would be the first openly gay president if elected. 

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Chasten Buttigieg was responding to White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere’s claim on Twitter. Deere shared a screenshot of the vice president’s Tuesday schedule during a trip to Ireland, which includes a lunch with Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and his partner, Dr. Matthew Barrett.

“For all of you who still think our @VP is anti-gay, I point you to his and the @SecondLady’s schedule tomorrow where they will join Taoiseach @LeoVaradkar and his partner Dr. Matthew Barrett for lunch in Ireland,” Deere wrote on Twitter.

This is not the first time Pence will be dining with Varadkar, one of the few openly gay world leaders.

Pence hosted Varadkar in March ahead of St. Patrick’s Day, a breakfast meeting that drew attention because Pence has been frequently criticized for supporting anti-LGBTQ positions. 

As governor of Indiana, Pence signed a religious freedom law that was criticized as a pathway to legal anti-LGBTQ discrimination. As a member of Congress, Pence supported a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage.

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Deere’s tweet was met with thousands of responses from social media users who criticized the suggestion that dining with Varadkar meant Pence was not anti-LGBT.

“Are you for real?!” Bobby Berk, one of the co-hosts of Netflix’s “Queer Eye,” wrote.

“Here for the ratio!” said Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims (D). “And to make sure you’re aware that this is a trash tweet defending a person responsible for gay men dying from AIDS an causing an HIV outbreak in Indiana because of his hate. Shame on you. And yeah, I know you’re shameless.”