Anti-gay hecklers follow Pete Buttigieg across Iowa

The protesters object to the candidate's sexual orientation and support for abortion rights.
By Tim Fitzsimons

In the two days since kicking off a campaign swing through Iowa, presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg has faced anti-gay heckling at several stops.

On Tuesday morning, he was interrupted in Fort Dodge by protesters who shouted, "Mayor Pete, you betrayed your baptism, your holy baptism" and made anti-abortion remarks. Later that day, at a large rally in Des Moines, hecklers shouted "remember Sodom and Gomorrah."

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In response, Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, quipped to the Des Moines crowd: "The good news is the condition of my soul is in the hands of God, but the Iowa caucuses are up to you."

The hecklers, Gary Boisclair and the anti-abortion activist Randal Terry, spoke to NBC News later that same day. The two men said they had also heckled another Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey. Boisclair and Terry said they plan to appear at Buttigieg events to protest his sexual orientation and his support for abortion rights.

On Wednesday, Buttigieg, who is in a same-sex marriage, was again heckled by Bosclair, Terry and a third man, this time at a house party rally in Marshalltown. One, dressed as Buttigieg, whipped another, dressed as Jesus, while a third, dressed as Satan, made anti-gay remarks.

Speaking to reporters after the event on Wednesday, Buttigieg said, "I think when you're in politics, especially at this level, you're going to see the good, the bad, the ugly and the peculiar."

"Look, the next president is going to have to confront things a lot more challenging than being interrupted or having to talk over a little noise at an event," Buttigieg added. "So it may be irritating, but it's also part of the landscape."

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Josh Lederman contributed.