Pete Buttigieg, the transportation secretary, said on Saturday that he and his husband, Chasten, were now the parents of two children, making him the first openly gay cabinet secretary to become a parent while in office.
â€œWe are delighted to welcome Penelope Rose and Joseph August Buttigieg to our family,â€ Mr. Buttigieg, 39, said in a statement on social media, sharing a photograph of his daughter and son for the first time since announcing last month that the couple were completing the process of becoming parents.
In the image, the couple, seated on a hospital bed, are smiling as they each cradle a newborn. The Buttigieges did not respond to a phone call seeking comment and have offered few other details about their children.
Mr. Buttigieg surfaced in national politics when he entered the presidential race in 2019 as mayor of South Bend, Ind. This year, Mr. Buttigieg and Chasten, 32, relocated to Washington after Mr. Buttigieg became transportation secretary, making him the first openly gay cabinet member to be confirmed by the Senate. He is also the youngest member of President Bidenâ€™s cabinet.
Mr. Buttigieg and Chasten, a former middle school teacher, wed in 2018. Since Mr. Buttigieg entered the national spotlight, they have often sought to upend perceptions of gay relationships.
â€œPeople are accustomed to politics looking a different way, and youâ€™re here to make sure that, you know, it can look a different way,â€ Chasten said in an interview with The New York Times this spring.
The couple had been exploring adoption in recent months. Chasten, who wrote a memoir published in June about growing up gay in the Midwest, also recently told USA Today that the couple was navigating the process of starting a family.
â€œWe have quite a few friends in our circle whoâ€™ve navigated that, so weâ€™ve just been having a lot of conversations with friends and started trying to figure out what will work for us,â€ he said.
After the coupleâ€™s announcement last month, activists said that the Buttigieges could reshape assumptions of gay fatherhood.
â€œAs parents, they will now shine a national spotlight on L.G.B.T.Q. families, who often face daunting challenges because of outdated policies that narrowly define what families are,â€ Annise Parker, the president of the Victory Institute, an organization that helps prepare L.G.B.T.Q. people to run for political office, said in a statement.