Buttigieg to headline Human Rights Campaign dinner

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegColbert links large 2020 Dem field to Avengers: 'A group of every available person in the universe' The Hill's Morning Report - Trump tells House investigators 'no' Buttigieg draws new scrutiny, criticism MORE (D) will keynote the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Las Vegas Dinner next month as he continues to gin up support for his 2020 White House bid.

“Mayor Pete Buttigieg is changing hearts and minds across America in his trailblazing campaign to be the Democratic Party’s first out nominee for President of the United States,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a press release. “As a visible and outspoken advocate for LGBTQ equality, Mayor Pete has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to our community and we are honored to welcome him to our Las Vegas Dinner.”

Buttigieg visited the HRC headquarters in Washington in January after announcing his presidential exploratory committee. His husband, Chasten, spoke at the 2019 HRC Houston Dinner earlier this month.

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Former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBiden's sloppy launch may cost him Nagging misconceptions about nudge theory The Hill's Morning Report - Trump tells House investigators 'no' MORE, former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenElection analyst says Biden could face uphill battle attracting small-dollar donors Biden's announcement was a general election message, says political analyst Gillibrand 'not worried' about being 'discounted' in 2020 race MORE and former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonForget the spin: Five unrefuted Mueller Report revelations Former senators launching effort to help Dems win rural votes Biden's announcement was a general election message, says political analyst MORE have previously spoken at the HRC's national dinner.

Buttigieg officially announced his presidential campaign on Sunday. If elected, he would be the first openly gay president.

The previously unknown South Bend mayor has highlighted his sexual orientation in recent days amid a feud with Vice President Pence over Pence's stance on LGBTQ issues. 

Buttigieg has taken aim at Pence for the policies enacted under his tenure as Indiana governor.

"The vice president is entitled to his religious beliefs. My problem is when those religious beliefs are used as an excuse to harm other people," Buttigieg said on CNN this week. "That was a huge issue for us in Indiana when he advanced a discriminatory bill in 2015 under the guise of religious freedom that said it was lawful to discriminate, provided you invoked religion as your excuse," Buttigieg continued, referring to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that Pence signed into law

The law allowed businesses to use religious liberty as a defense if they believed the government was infringing on their exercise of religion. Critics claimed the legislation would allow businesses to discriminate against the LGBTQ community. 

Pence and his wife, Karen, have pushed back against Buttigieg's criticism, saying he is taking aim at them unfairly. 

Buttigieg, who has seen a rise in polls and notable fundraising in recent weeks, was known to have a cordial relationship with Pence when the two both served in Indiana.