Out Magazine went after South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg over his past volunteering for the Salvation Army, a charity that regularly has faced allegations of homophobia.
In a piece published Tuesday, Out senior staff writer Rose Dommu reported how photos from 2017 “resurfaced” showing the mayor, the only openly-gay candidate in the 2020 Democratic field, appearing in the iconic Salvation Army apron and ringing a bell outside of a restaurant while as he helped raise money for the organization, something he had done in years past.
“The gesture would be super nice of Buttigieg if the Salvation Army didn’t have a well-documented history of discriminating against LGBTQ+ people in need,” Dommu wrote. “In the 1990s, the Salvation Army dodged a San Francisco ordinance requiring government-affiliated businesses to offer benefits to workers with same-sex partners by citing exemption on religious grounds. In 2012, Salvation Army spokesperson George Hood claimed that same-sex relationships go “against the will of God.” The organization has also referred website visitors to conversion therapy groups and circulated internal memos opposing marriage equality.”
Dommu acknowledged how Salvation Army Communications Director David Jolley told Out last month that the charity “evolved [in its] approach” in helping the LGBT community, citing its efforts of having dorms exclusively for transgender people, a detox facility in San Franciso for HIV/AIDS patients, and helping transgender sex-trafficking victims in Baltimore.
“While that’s all admirable, it’s still fighting against decades of persecution and intolerance justified by religion,” Dommu continued. “Even famously homophobic chicken peddlers Chick-fil-A recently severed its relationship with the Salvation Army, and when you’re gay and less sensitive about anti-queerness than Chick-fil-A, that’s pretty bleak.”
The reporter went on, “Maybe Pete Buttigieg should have supported an organization that was created to cater to the needs of queer people — there’s plenty of them!”
Critics and some members of the LGBT community hit back on social media.
“The @SalvationArmyUS is not ‘homophobic,'” Federalist senior contributor Chad Felix Greene wrote. “At this point LGBT media is just spreading bigotry and hatred.”
“It’s a charity that helps poor people you bleeping idiots,” Washington Examiner’s Brad Polumbo reacted.
However, Buttigieg wasn’t the only candidate with ties to the Salvation Army. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., held a “signature drive” at the Salvation Army Lewis Center in Indiana. The organization made the largest campaign contributions to her and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. during the 2020 election cycle, both over $1,800, according to OpenSecrets.org. The charity also donated to the presidential campaigns of former Vice President Joe Biden, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, and tech businessman Andrew Yang as well as the senate campaigns of Cory Booker, D-N.J., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Kamala Harris, D-Calif.
Booker also paid a visit to the Salvation Army in 2013 in Atlantic City.
Neither Out Magazine nor Dommu immediately responded to Fox News’ request for comment. The Buttigieg campaign also declined comment.
Fox News’ Tyler McCarthy contributed to this report.