Rep. Mike Michaud is the Democrats’ best hope of taking back the Maine governship next year. But before the campaign gets fully underway, Michaud wanted to let everyone know what he is gay. In an op-ed that given to two Maine newspapers and the Associated Press, Michaud has come out and then asked, so what?
Michaud, 58, said that he knew his sexual orientation was a potential political issue in the governor’s race. “I wasn’t surprised to learn about the whisper campaigns, insinuations and push-polls some of the people opposed to my candidacy have been using to raise questions about my personal life,” he writes. “They want people to question whether I am gay. Allow me to save them the trouble with a simple, honest answer: “Yes I am. But why should it matter?”
As to why he never said anything sooner, Michaud said, “Growing up in a large Franco-American Catholic family, it’s never been in my nature to talk about myself. I write this now merely to let my opponents and the outside interests who fund them know that I am not ashamed of who I am. And if seeing someone from my background, in my position openly acknowledge the fact that he’s gay makes it a little bit easier for future generations to live their lives openly and without fear, all the better.”
Michaud’s announcement makes him the seventh openly LGBT member of Congress. Apparently, his coming out caught was something of a surprise to that select group. “My #gaydar missed it, but happy to welcome @RepMikeMichaud to team #lgbt,” Rep. Jared Polis tweeted.
Michaud hopes to challenge incumbent Republican Gov. Paul LePage, a Tea Party favorite who is nuttier than a jar of Jif. Among LePage’s choicer comments was a complaint last July that a state representative “claims to be for the people, but he’s the first one to give it to the people without providing Vaseline.” We can only imagine what further analogies will erupt from LePage now that he’s facing an opponent who would be the first openly gay governor in the nation’s history.
Photo credit: Michaud’s Congressional site.