Pete Buttigieg smiles holding a cup of coffee outdoors

Pete Buttigieg Gives a Brilliantly Sweet Response to Mike Johnson’s Homophobia

The Dark Harbinger?!

Louisiana Rep. Mike Johnson is the new Speaker of the House and, to no one’s surprise, he is extremely conservative. We have known that he is deeply homophobic, but his stance on the queer community is extreme, even by today’s standards of the Republican party. When discussing gay marriage, he described it as: “the dark harbinger of chaos and sexual anarchy that could doom even the strongest republic.” That is quite the hateful word salad. 

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First, “dark harbinger” is a very weird description (and lowkey a great supervillain name). It’s also way too sci-fi. And “chaos” is a little vague. What actually is chaotic? And “sexual anarchy”? Some LGBTQ+ people can be quite rigid. I am one of those rigid queers! And lastly, “DOOM even the strongest republic.” Talk about hyperbole. I can think of a lot more things that can doom republics: unfettered gun access, white supremacy, and overturning elections (which Johnson himself attempted to do) seem more harmful to the republic than gay folks getting married.

Secretary of Transportation and openly gay cabinet member Pete Buttigieg was on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert and was asked about Johnson’s extreme views. Colbert correctly called Johnson’s views “awful” and asked the Secretary how he could work with someone who had made such disturbing statements. Buttigieg did sigh, so kudos for that! I would’ve done way more. He gave a fairly cookie-cutter answer at first, saying that he would work with anyone who could help with transportation. That would have been a little disappointing but the conversation didn’t stop there. He went on to say that he should maybe invite Johnson to spend some time with him and his family at their house. This is when Pete gives a very sweet and simple description of what his home life is like. He stated: 

“If he could see what it’s like when I come home from work, and Chas is bringing the kids home from daycare or vice versa, and one of us is getting the Mac and Cheese ready and the other’s microwaving those freezer meatballs, which are a great cheat code if you’ve got a toddler and you need to feed them quickly, and one won’t take their shoes off and one needs a diaper change.” He then added, “Everything about that is chaos, but nothing about this is dark.”

I LOVE this. I think this is so cute. We as LGBTQ+ people shouldn’t have to humanize ourselves in the Lord’s year of 2023, but here we are. Buttigieg paints a vivid picture of American life which could be any household; they just happen to be two dads raising a family. I particularly love the last line about it being chaos but not dark. That is a direct response to Johnson’s quote. First, it shows how quickly Buttigieg can think on his feet, as this isn’t the first time he’s had to publicly defend his sexuality and family. Secondly, he admits that things are chaotic. But everyone and every family has chaos. This doesn’t mean it is dark. Their lives seem quite illuminated actually, by love and happiness. 

I guess this is why Buttigieg is better than me, because I would have gone straight for the jugular at Johnson’s hateful rhetoric. He took the high road, though, and showed that people like Johnson are the fringe ones lost in the darkness.

(featured image: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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