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‘Unnecessary homophobia’: Buttigieg’s husband responds to republican rep’s parental leave diss

By Jake Beardslee · January 22, 2024

In brief…

  • Rep. Anna Paulina Luna criticized Pete Buttigieg for taking paternity leave in 2021 after adopting twins.
  • Luna is pushing a law to allow new-mom lawmakers to vote by proxy while on maternity leave.
  • Buttigieg's husband Chasten accused Luna of "unnecessary homophobia" for saying leave shouldn't apply to Buttigieg since "he's a dude."
  • Chasten argued all new parents, including same-sex couples, deserve parental leave to bond with newborns.
Pete Buttigieg's husband Chasten slammed Rep. Anna Paulina Luna's criticism of the Transportation Secretary taking paternity leave to care for their adopted twins as "unnecessary homophobia."  Pete For America/Wikimedia

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg faced criticism from an unlikely source this week when Republican Rep. Anna Paulina Luna of Florida criticized him for taking paternity leave in 2021 after adopting twins.

Luna has been pushing for a new congressional parental leave law allowing new-mom lawmakers to vote by proxy while on leave. But she argued the policy shouldn’t apply to Buttigieg since “he’s a dude,” in a post on X.

Buttigieg’s husband Chasten called her out on social media, accusing Luna of “unnecessary homophobia.”

Buttigieg and Chasten welcomed twins Joseph and Penelope in 2021. The infants were hospitalized and put on oxygen shortly after birth due to respiratory illness.

Chasten told The Advocate all new parents deserve leave to bond with their newborns.

“I’m a big proponent of parental leave,” he said. “It’s an extremely important time for parents and their newborn, or, as was in our case, newborns.”

Though Luna aims to bring Congress “with the times,” her comment disregarded same-sex parents, Buttigieg said.

“What a shame to see Representative Luna tarnish this bipartisan effort with unnecessary homophobia,” he tweeted Friday. “’Getting with the times’ would serve you well, Congresswoman.”

Chasten tries to stay out of spats, he told The Advocate.

“I know one day [the twins] will judge us for what we did to make the world a better place, so I’ll focus on that work and try my best to stay out of the petty fights some online or in Congress are so eager to pick,” he said.