SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WISH) — The mayor of South Bend announced Tuesday that he is gay.
Pete Buttigieg is considered to be a rising star in the Democratic Party and he is in the middle of a re-election campaign and that makes the timing of his announcement a little surprising.
Until now, Pete Buttigieg was best known as a mayor who last year announced that he was going on six months active duty in the Navy Reserve.
That changed with the publication of an essay in his hometown paper, The South Bend Tribune.
In it, Buttigieg said being gay is a fact of life, like having brown hair.
For gay rights activist, Rick Sutton it’s another step toward equality.
“It’s a great year,” he said.
Sutton helped Buttigieg get an equal rights amendment passed in the mayor’s first 100 days in office.
“It was no surprise, his support for our issues,” said Sutton. “No surprise to his voters then, or now, but it sends a stronger message now across the state when a larger city mayor can do this.”
“If he helps other people, I told him this morning, to me that’s the definition of a public servant,” said Dan Parker.
He is a former Buttigieg adviser who understands there is political risk tied to the announcement.
Buttigieg was the Democratic nominee for state treasurer in 2010 and is viewed as a potential candidate for higher office in the future.
“This is a decision where politics be damned,” said Parker. “This was something deeply personal for him but he will be judged by his record as mayor of South Bend.”
Last year, Buttigieg was the subject of a profile in the Washington Post that called him “the most interesting mayor you’ve never heard of.”
A lot more people are hearing about him now.