Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg on LGBTQ Issues

2020 provides us the starkest choice in American history: to elect a pro-equality champion as president or to face four more years of a Trump-Pence administration that has attacked LGBTQ people at every opportunity. HRC sent our 2020 Presidential Questionnaire to all candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination. Pete Buttigieg's responses are below. You can view more candidate questionnaire responses at hrc.org/election2020.


Question 1 from HRC

In a majority of states, no explicit laws protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQ) Americans from discrimination, like the federal laws that exist on race, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability. If elected, would you support and sign into law the Equality Act (HR 5/S788), which would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in credit, education, employment, federally funded programs, housing, jury service, and public spaces?

Support ✓                         Oppose       

Comments from Buttigieg on Question 1

Winning passage of this landmark civil rights legislation would be a top priority for my administration. LGBTQ+ people in every state and community in the nation should have the right to live free of and without fear of discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.


Question 2 from HRC

The U.S. Constitution provides strong protections for individuals and organizations to exercise religion and to freely speak about beliefs. But some federal and state lawmakers are seeking to pass legislation, like the First Amendment Defense Act, that would create loopholes that could be used to deny equal treatment to LGBTQ people based on so-called "religious freedom" claims. Would you oppose efforts that allow individuals to use their religious beliefs as a justification to discriminate against LGBTQ people in the public sphere?

Yes ✓                              No               

Comments from Buttigieg on Question 2

As a person of faith, I greatly value the religious liberty that our Constitution and laws protect. However, religion must not be used to justify discrimination against LGBTQ+ people or to score partisan political points. I will conduct a thorough examination of unconstitutional religious exemption policies in the federal government, especially those deployed by the Trump administration to undermine the rights of LGBTQ+ people. This includes refocusing, reassigning, or removing offices that were put in place to enable discrimination, especially, for example, the poorly-named Conscience and Religions Freedom Division at the Department of Health and Human Services.


Question 3 from HRC

Do you believe the civil institution of marriage (with absolutely no requirements imposed on houses of worship) should be legally available to two committed adults of the same sex?

Support ✓                       Oppose           

Comments from Buttigieg on Question 3

Yes. Marriage equality enabled me to marry Chasten, just as it has enabled same-sex couples who choose to marry to do so in every community across the country. Many couples choose to be married by a civil authority, and that option must remain legally available as an option.


Question 4 from HRC

New treatments have improved the quality of life for those living with HIV and new prevention strategies can help reduce the risk of contracting HIV, but these medications are often too expensive and too difficult to access for those who need them. Do you support increased funding for HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment and research?

Support ✓                       Oppose           

Comments from Buttigieg on Question 4

As shared in my plan to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic, I will ensure that everyone living with HIV has access to coverage and affordable health care. I will fully fund the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program, re-establish the White House Office of National AIDS Policy and, within six months of taking office, update the National HIV/AIDS Strategy to ensure that U=U (Undetectable means Untransmittable) and universal access to PrEP are deployed in order to end the epidemic by 2030.

Through my Medicare for All Who Want It plan, Americans living with HIV will have access not just to safety-net health care programs, but to comprehensive, affordable health coverage via a public option for all health care needs.


Question 5 from HRC

Even as we experience increased transgender visibility, the levels of violence and harassment transgender people face – particularly transgender women of color – constitute a national crisis. The federal government has a critical role to play in preventing and addressing violence, including: expanding access to critical safety net programs to address issues like homelessness and job placement; implementing and enforcing rules that prohibit discrimination against transgender people by federally funded service providers; ensuring medically necessary transition-related care under the Affordable Care Act; ensuring the safety of those in jails, prisons, and immigration detention centers and robust enforcement of the federal hate crimes law. If elected President, will you support legislation and advance regulations and policies that prohibit discrimination against transgender people and prioritize a comprehensive federal response to address anti-transgender violence?

Yes✓                                No                  

Comments from Buttigieg on Question 5

Transgender Americans, especially Black, Latina, and indigenous transgender women, face extraordinary challenges that will require focused, proactive leadership to end. Regarding discrimination, passage of the Equality Act is critical, as it will secure antidiscrimination protection for all transgender indivdiuals.

I also will prioritize a comprehensive federal response to address anti-transgender violence and convene transgender Americans from the communties most impacted by violence to build the strategies that my Administration will deploy. Transgender people are experts in their own experiences, and transgender leaders have long been at the forefront of developing solutions to these challenges. I will be a committed partner in this work to advance better outcomes for all transgender Americans.


Question 6 from HRC

While all states currently allow LGBTQ people to adopt children, some legislators are pushing to allow government funded child welfare agencies to prohibit capable, committed adults from adopting and fostering because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Do you support policies that require government funded child welfare agencies to make decisions on adoption and foster care based on the best interest of the child, without bans based on sexual orientation or gender identity?

Support ✓                       Oppose            

Comments from Buttigieg on Question 6

I will end Trump’s “religious freedom waiver” that allows foster care agencies receiving federal dollars to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and prohibit them from performing “conversion therapy” on youth in their care. Best interest assessments should always be the primary determinant of child placement in foster care and adoption, and loving families should never be turned away from foster care or adoption agencies based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or religion. These discriminatory policies do nothing to achieve child and youth permanency and have no place in our child welfare system.


Question 7 from HRC

Bullying and harassment of LGBTQ students, as well as students perceived to be LGBTQ, is widespread. Would you support and sign into law the Safe Schools Improvement Act (H.R. 2653/S. 2548), which would require school districts receiving federal funding to adopt codes of conduct specifically prohibiting bullying and harassment, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as race, color, national origin, sex, disability, and religion?

Support ✓                      Oppose           

Comments from Buttigieg on Question 7

Schools have a responsibility to ensure the safety and dignity of each student. I will support the Student Nondiscrimination Act and the Safe Schools Improvement Act, and correctly interpret Title IX to include protection of transgender students. I will also provide resources through Department of Education grants to help school districts develop resources and model training programs for teachers to better support LGBTQ+ students who are facing harassment, lack of acceptance, or discrimination at school, at home, or in their communities.


Question 8 from HRC

LGBTQ people in many parts of the world face harassment, legal and societal discrimination, violence, and bigotry. Seventy countries criminalize same-sex sexual activity. In up to ten countries, same-sex sexual activity may be punishable by death. Transgender and gender non-conforming people often face laws that criminalize them and put them at greater risk of experiencing violence and poor health. Do you believe that LGBTQ rights are human rights and that U.S. national security is strengthened when we work with other governments, civil society, and international organizations to protect, support, and defend the human rights of LGBTQ people abroad?

Support ✓                      Oppose            

Comments from Buttigieg on Question 8

My administration will have a mandate--part of our foreign and national security policy--to lead against persecution and discrimination of LGBTQ+ people on the global stage and encourage our ambassadors to ensure LGBTQ+ rights are treated as human rights. I will advocate strongly for LGBTQ+ rights worldwide, particularly in contributing to the movement to remove homophobic and transphobic laws that prevent people from living safe and open lives in their countries, so that people will not be forced to flee their native countries. My administration will document persecution and discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals and organizations in countries around the world.


Question 9 from HRC

If elected President, will you only put forth nominees for appointment to the Supreme Court that are committed to due process under the law and upholding the Equal Protection Clause for all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity?

Support ✓                       Oppose            

Comments from Buttigieg on Question 9

Unfortunately, President Trump’s judicial appointments are going to be a legacy with which I and the administrations that follow will have to contend. Appointing Supreme Court Justices who are committed to upholding the Constitution and who recognize that LGBTQ+ Americans must receive the full protection of the Equal Protection Clause will be essential as a check on the far-right-wing judges whom the president has appointed.


Question 10 from HRC

If elected President, will you commit to making diverse appointments of qualified, openly LGBTQ individuals in key positions of your Administration, to include your Cabinet and the White House?

Support ✓                       Oppose            

Comments from Buttigieg on Question 10

As president, I will build a White House and administration that reflects the diversity of America, including LGBTQ+ Americans. I will nominate diverse voices at every level of government, including LGBTQ+ individuals, to serve in important positions in the executive and judicial branches.


Question 11 from HRC

There are approximately 15,500 actively serving transgender members of the U.S. military, making the Department of Defense the largest employer of transgender people in America. The Trump Administration has arbitrarily adopted a policy that bans qualified transgender people from service and will result in transgender service members losing their jobs. If elected President, will you expeditiously rescind the Trump policy and adopt new regulations allowing open service by all, qualified transgender people?

Support ✓                       Oppose            

Comments from Buttigieg on Question 11

I will immediately repeal the ban on military service for transgender Americans and allow our transgender troops to serve openly.


Question 12 from HRC

President Obama issued a historic Executive Order prohibiting discrimination against transgender employees of the federal government and prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. If elected President, will you leave that order in place and instruct all Departments to robustly enforce nondiscrimination protections?

Support ✓                        Oppose            

Comments from Buttigieg on Question 12

The Executive Order protecting transgender employees from discrimination by federal contractors was a watershed for the LGBTQ+ community. I will ensure that the Executive Order is not only left in place, but that it also is being vigorously enforced.


Question 13 from HRC

This questionnaire addresses most of the key federal issues impacting the LGBTQcommunity, but there are many others, including youth homelessness, the ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood, significant gaps in data collection, inability to access to medically-necessary health care, and critically important cultural competency training. If elected President, will you work to address the full range of LGBTQ concerns across the federal government?

Yes ✓                              No                    

Comments from Buttigieg on Question 13

Every issue is an LGBTQ+ issue. LGBTQ Americans are in every community across the country, experiencing the same challenges--though often amplified because of identity-based discrimination and violence--as all other Americans. I am committed to addressing the range of issues impacting the LGBTQ+ community. This includes increasing funding for federal research about LGBTQ+ individuals, families, and communities. These funds will be especially geared towards identifying and lifting up the most impactful protective factors and sources of  resilience, health and well-being, healing, and belonging for LGBTQ+ individuals, families, and communities. I will ensure that all public health decisions and regulations are based on scientific evidence and not fear or stigma, including blood donor deferral guidelines to prevent HIV transmission. I’m going to end youth homelessness as a part of my housing agenda.


Question 14 from HRC

Please share policy positions not mentioned above that you have publicly taken on ballot measures, legislation or non-policy related matters that affect the LGBTQ community, including in legislatures, businesses, the legal realm or the media.

Comments from Buttigieg on Question 14

In October of 2019, I released my LGBTQ+ policy platform, Becoming Whole: A New Era for LGBTQ+ Americans. This living document is a starting place on the issues discussed above, as well as many others not mentioned. It is available on my website at https://peteforamerica.com/policies/lgbtq.


HRC works in coalition with many organizations to achieve equality and justice. Please indicate your positions on these key issues:

Question 15 from HRC

Do you support the Voting Rights Advancement Act (H.R. 4/S. 561), a bill that protects access to the polls for all Americans by addressing the modern day challenges of voting discrimination and restoring the full protections of the Voting Rights Act?

Support ✓                        Oppose             

Comments from Buttigieg on Question 15

I support the Voting Rights Advancement Act, and I will use every resource of the federal government to end all types of voter suppression, expand voting access, and create a democracy where the rights of each citizen no longer depend on the color of their skin, the community they live in, or for whom they want to vote.


Question 16 from HRC

Do you support a woman’s right to make decisions about her own reproductive health, including a right to safe and accessible abortion?

Support ✓                        Oppose             

Comments from Buttigieg on Question 16

I will ensure that women, transgender men, and nonbinary people permanently have access to safe, affordable, and legal abortions by codifying the right into law to protect communities from state-level interference, abolishing the Hyde Amendment, prohibiting interference in public and private insurance coverage of abortion, and increasing the number of clinicians capable of providing abortions.


Question 17 from HRC

Do you support immigration reform with a path to legal citizenship for law-abiding residents currently in the United States?

Support ✓                        Oppose             

Comments from Buttigieg on Question 17

We must create a pathway to citizenship for the approximately 11 million undocumented people living in the United States, including Dreamers, TPS and DED holders. This is something the vast majority of Americans agree should happen, but because politicians in Washington have focused more on fighting with each other than fighting to make the lives of millions of people better, it has not gotten done.


Question 18 from HRC

Do you support sensible gun safety measures including limiting access to assault-style rifles, expanding background checks, and limiting the ability for suspected terrorists and those with a history of domestic abuse to access guns?

Support ✓                       Oppose             

Comments from Buttigieg on Question 18

I will dedicate $1 billion to prevent and combat violent extremism and radicalization, empower law enforcement—including the FBI, state and local authorities—with greater resources for preventing domestic terrorist attacks before they occur, and work with social media and other online platforms to identify and limit the spread of hateful ideology.

I will make background checks universal and close the loopholes that allow dangerous individuals to acquire and keep guns. These include the “boyfriend loophole” in domestic violence cases, the “Charleston loophole” that allows sales to occur without complete background checks, and the “hate loophole” that still allows individuals convicted of hate crimes to have guns. I will ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines, support red flag laws that disarm domestic abusers or others who are deemed an immediate threat to others/themselves, and create a national gun licensing system.