Watch: Chasten Buttigieg: Anti-Marriage Conservatives 'Wildly Out of Step'

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Monday December 5, 2022
Originally published on December 5, 2022

Chasten Buttigieg
Chasten Buttigieg  (Source:Screenshot/MSNBC/YouTube)

Chasten Buttigieg took to MSNBC after writing a moving op-ed about the joys of his marriage to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. During his appearance, Chasten took note of how "wildly out of step" the anti-equality right remains.

Introducing the segment, MSNMC anchor Nicolle Wallace read portions of Chasten's essay, "What Marriage Means to Me," which appeared at Medium on Nov. 29, the day the Senate passed the Respect for Marriage Act, which will codify the marriage rights of same-sex and interracial couples in federal law and act as a backstop to a possible reversal by the Supreme Court of the Court's own 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges that swept away state laws barring full marriage equality.

Twelve Republican Senators joined the chamber's Democrats in approving the bill with a filibuster-proof majority.

Taking note of recent polls that show overwhelming support for marriage equality — including more than half of Republicans — Chasten reminded Wallace that "a majority of Republicans [in the Senate] voted against it."

That, Chasten said, underscores how "they are just wildly out of step with the American people right now," and added, "I think it is because they don't actually want to focus what people are hoping they go to Washington and solve. It's because they need to continuously stoke a culture war to audition for their latest Fox News hit or to get some likes and retweets on Twitter.

"But that's not what leadership is about," Chasten continued. "It's about making people's lives better. That is why I'm so grateful that Senate Democrats got this done so they can go back and solve more issues for the American people."

In his essay, Chasten wrote that his marriage to Secretary Buttigieg means "goodbye kisses at the door and thermoses of coffee in the minivan. It's having the right to juggle it all with the person who makes you feel loved and supported amidst the chaos.

"It's the right to have a shoulder to lean on at end of the day in the first place," Chasten's essay added.

"I wanted to write it because I just wanted to share what marriage equality means to one same-sex couple," Chasten told Wallace, going on to recount that he was "keeping an eye on C-Span" as the Senate debated the Respect for Marriage Act, "and hearing some of the folks on the floor debate your marriage, your family, just had me thinking. And so I had to start writing."

Chasten's MSNBC comments followed his recent appearance on CNN to talk with out anchor Don Lemon about a post Chasten tweeted that included a photo of his husband in military uniform following a scattered diatribe by anti-LGBTQ+ Fox News personality Tucker Carlson in the days immediately following the mass shooting at a gay bar in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

In a clip that played out over a chyron reading, "Pete: Anti-Gay Victimhood Narrative? Count Me In," Carlson sought to flip the script and attribute violence not to the GOP midterm candidates who made baseless slurs against LGTBQ+ Americans or to perpetrators who have committed criminal acts in the wake of that rhetoric, but to Secretary Buttigieg who, Carlson claimed, "is happy to use his sexual orientation as a cudgel to bash you repeatedly in the face, into submission."

Moving on from his own "anti-gay victimhood narrative," Carlson then portrayed Secretary Buttigieg's silence about being gay during his military service as Buttigieg having "hid that and then lied about it for reasons he has never been asked to explain. Why not?"

Noting that the very name of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy was "kind of self-explanatory," Lemon asked Chasten about the photo he posted in response.

Pointing out the obvious, Chasten answered: "My husband served under 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' which meant that he would have been discharged from the American military had he come out of the closet."

Indeed, DADT served as a directive to LGBTQ+ American servicemembers to stay silent. By doing so, they were conducting themselves in accordance with military policy at the time.

"MAGA GOP have a choice to make," Chasten posted in a followup tweet. "Will they start focusing on real issues and get stuff done, or will they continue to let the hateful rhetoric drive their party further from voters and reality?"

The Senate-approved version of the Respect for Marriage Act will now go to the House, which previously passed a different iteration of the bill. Once the House approves the current version — which includes Senate amendments designed to address concerns around religious liberties — the Respect for Marriage Act will go to President Joe Biden.

Watch Chasten Buttigieg's comments on MSNBC in the video below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.