In an commentary released Monday morning in the Portland Press Herald, Maine Congressman and gubernatorial candidate Michael Michaud (D) came out as gay. Referring to “whisper campaigns, insinuations, and push-polls” about his personal life, Michaud decided to set the record gay: “Yes I am. But why should it matter?”
Because he wants to run a positive campaign that doesn’t focus on personal lives, Michaud dedicated the rest of his piece discussing not LGBT issues, but his vision for a society where everyone truly has a fair chance to thrive:
We need to create an economy that works for everyone; expand access to affordable health care; invest in our infrastructure to help Maine’s businesses, farms and fisheries expand to new markets; and ensure that all children – regardless of where they live – have access to a world-class public education.
We need to remind people here and across the globe that Maine is a wonderful place to live, go to school, raise a family, start a business and retire.
The Human Rights Campaign has previously given Michaud a score of 95 on its Congressional Scorecard, and the only thing that has kept him from a full 100 is the fact that he has not co-sponsored the Respect for Marriage Act, which would fully repeal the Defense of Marriage Act — only half of which remains enforceable.
Michaud’s opponent, incumbent Gov. Paul LePage (R), has a record of opposing LGBT equality. In 2009, he supported the referendum (Question One) to overturn marriage equality for same-sex couples, noting that he believes government should get out of the marriage business entirely and only offer civil unions — including to heterosexual couples. In 2012, he vetoed a bill that would have supported Maine’s teachers in retribution for the teacher’s union supporting marriage equality. He also opposed adding gender identity to the Maine Human Rights Act in 2010, explaining, “I just don’t understand how people, at least sane people, would want to allow transgender in our primary schools and our high schools.”
Fellow out Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) applauded Michaud’s announcement on Twitter, noting that he becomes the 7th openly LGBT Representative in the House. Polis also joked, “My #gaydar missed it, but happy to welcome @RepMikeMichaud to team #LGBT.”