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Buttigieg responds to protesters yelling about 'Sodom and Gomorrah'

Presidential hopeful Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden meets with bipartisan lawmakers for infrastructure negotiations Senate Republicans label Biden infrastructure plan a 'slush fund' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - Congress returns; infrastructure takes center stage MORE (D) was confronted by two protesters shouting about the biblical cities of Sodom and Gomorrah at a campaign event Tuesday night in Iowa.

Two protesters interrupted Buttigieg, who is openly gay, during a speech in Fort Dodge, Iowa, shouting about the two cities that the Bible says were destroyed by what it calls sinful acts, including sodomy. They were both quickly shouted down by a crowd of 1,650 people chanting the South Bend, Ind., mayor’s name and escorted out of the area by security. 

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"The good news is the condition of my soul is in the hands of God, but the Iowa caucuses are up to you," Buttigieg said after the first protester was ushered away from the crowd. 

"Remember the beauty of our democracy. Everyone here gets the exact same voice and vote. Feels like the numbers are on our side," he added after the second protester was removed. 

When asked for further comment regarding the protesters, Buttigieg’s campaign directed The Hill to the candidate’s statements during the event. 

Buttigieg’s sexual orientation has been thrust into the spotlight in recent days as he feuds with Vice President Pence over the former Indiana governor’s stances on the LGBTQ community. He was particularly critical of a 2015 law Pence signed that allowed businesses to use religious liberty as a defense if they believed the government was infringing on their exercise of religion. Critics said the law would allow businesses to discriminate against the LGBTQ community.

“The vice president is entitled to his religious beliefs,” Buttigieg said Tuesday on CNN’s “New Day.” “My problem is when those religious beliefs are used as an excuse to harm other people.”

“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,” he added. 

However, Buttigieg had not fielded such public and personal attacks on his sexuality during his campaign until Tuesday. 

Buttigieg has recently seen a spike in attention in a crowded Democratic primary field, surging in polls in crucial states such as Iowa and New Hampshire and seeing a boost in fundraising, hauling in more cash than other candidates with higher name recognition, including Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOn The Money: Biden .5T budget proposes major hike in social programs | GOP bashes border, policing provisions Overnight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists POW/MIA flag moved back atop White House MORE (D-Mass.) and Cory BookerCory BookerThe first Southern state legalizes marijuana — what it means nationally Top Democrat calling for expansion of child care support When it comes to the Iran nuclear deal, what's a moderate Democrat to do? MORE (D-N.J.).