Pennsylvania GOP State Rep. Mike Fleck Comes Out

MikefleckMike Fleck, a Republican State Rep. from Pennsylvania, came out of the closet today, a closet he stayed in for nearly 40 years because of his religion and his relationship with the Boy Scouts of America.

“Coming out is hard enough, but doing it in the public eye is definitely
something I never anticipated,” said the lawmaker, who was married to a woman for more than adecade, according to PoliticsPA.

“I’m still the exact same
person and I’m still a Republican and, most importantly, I’m still a
person of faith trying to live life as a servant of God and the public.
The only difference now is that I will also be doing so as honestly as I
know how.”

The Republican Party is all about the government needing to stay out of people’s lives. I’m not a one-issue person and it’s not a one-issue party,” he said.

Fleck, who is 39-years old and an Eagle Scout, said his staff position with the organization contributed to his staying in the closet.

From the subscriber-only Huntingdon Daily News, which broke the story:

As an executive for the organization, Fleck said “now my livelihood depended on hiding my true sexual orientation, something I was very good at.”

He continued that during his 20s, he firmly believed what he’s been taught, that homosexuality was a choice and so never felt in great conflict because he’d learned to suppress his feelings.

“I wanted to live a ‘normal’ life and raise a family,” Fleck said. “I also believed that by marrying, I was fulfilling God’s will and I thought my same-sex attraction would simply go away.”

Fleck also said that he tried religious therapy to rid himself of same-sex desires, but to no avail. “I sought out treatment from a Christian counselor, but when that didn’t work out, I engaged a secular therapist who told me point blank that I was gay and that I was too caught up in being the perfect Christian rather than actually being authentic and honest,” he said.

As for his ex-wife, Fleck said she remains his best-friend. “My wife and I became closer than ever [after I came out to her], but it was bittersweet as we both concluded that the marriage was over,” he said.

Comments

  1. WebHybrid says

    Oh what a tangled web…

    It says “Fleck also said that he tried religious therapy to rid himself of same-sex desires, but to no avail.”

    Duh.

    Backwards! He ought to be to ridding himself of religion, mankind’s greatest and most persistent hoax.

  2. says

    I’d love to wish him well, Stephen, but he’s still going to be bass-ackward and in no position to be a law maker.

    “I’m still a person of faith trying to live life as a servant of God and the public. The only difference now is that I will also be doing so as honestly as I know how.”

    Well, I’d rather he kept his “servant of god” crap to himself and out of his public office. If he had an inkling of common sense and the ability to make rational decisions, he’d come to his senses and realize what a cobbled-together piece of trash the whole bible is. I wish I could believe otherwise, but historically, and factually, it’s a disaster made by men, not some omnipotent superbeing, so if he’s going to be in a position to make decisions for others, he’d damn sure better be making them based on facts and rational thought, not because of “faith”. The whole pick-and-choose christianist religion is a despicable joke that has caused the needless deaths of millions. And so many continue to follow their fears because they haven’t got the gumption to peer outside their comfortable little crutch box of religion.

    He wasn’t an honest person of faith BECAUSE of his religion and BECAUSE of his associations. So what’s going to make him so honest now? Because others paved the way for him to flame out and spread his wings, so now it’s okay to come out, come out wherever you are?! Screw that.

  3. Rich B says

    Good for him. Religion and a rural and/or conservative upbringing can warp a person when it comes to sexuality. I know from experience. I can only imagine the courage it takes to come out to your wife and mother of your kids. But he made that leap on his own, and is coming out on his own (from the sound of it) which also takes a lot of courage. Good for him. I wish him the best.

    Now PA has two openly gay state reps, one on each side of the aisle. Maybe they’ll be able to work together and (finally) get the ball rolling on marriage equality!

  4. David in Houston says

    “The Republican party is all about the government needing to stay out of people’s lives.”

    BIGGEST. LIE. OF. ALL. TIME.
    If the Republican party didn’t exist, gay Americans would have all of their civil rights in all 50 states. It’s as simple as that.

  5. Steve says

    “We don’t know where everything comes from, so god did it. And it happened exactly like written in the Bible!” Seriously? For once in your life *think*

  6. Francis says

    I’m going to put aside the political aspects of this for the time being and say congrats to Mike Fleck on coming out. Because obviously, given his background and community he grew up in, he could have become another suicide statistic. He could have continued to lie and live in the closet. But he hasn’t and I’m happy for him as an out gay man, that he’s comfortable enough to come out himself.

  7. says

    “Hey, so, even though i’m gay i’m still a slave to both the organized religion that kept me closeted and the political party whose continued persecution and demonization of people like me has led me to still be afraid, even as a grown man, to openly challenge them on their bigoted policies.”

    part of me says “well, this is a good first step

    and the other part of me looks around and sees a world of teens and tweens who are already more man than this guy will likely ever be.

    congrats on coming out. now time to actually DO SOMETHING to undo the harm and prejudice you’ve condoned, and thus promoted.

    and skip the jesus talk. we all saw Carrie.

  8. says

    btw, his comment aobut the the GOP “staying out of people’s personal lives” is one of those things like “fiscal responsibility” that the GOP likes to say, yet not practice or even Properly preach.

    all an intellectually-honest republican need do is look at the galling attacks on civil liberties and individual rights and freedoms that are indeed the new GOP party platforms.

    lgbt equality? a woman’s right to choose? the GOP is all about wasting time and money to deny individuals their rights and personhood. bleh.

  9. says

    @ESA I left the church too after being a youth minister. It’s a hard transition and eventually I got my beliefs in order, shook the guilt off and stopped hating myself amidst the duality. I can only hope he transitions into a well-balanced person who doesn’t serve both sides.

  10. PAUL B. says

    @Gast…I always thought the republicans created the universe. I’m sure I read that somewhere on the internet. Or maybe it was just that god was a republican when he did the big one. I’m not sure. Can you clear that up for me?

  11. Gast says

    It’s just fascinating how we denounce ignorance, yet prefer to stay in a state of ignorance around our very own existence. I reject religious prejudice as much as any fair minded individual. But I still got questions which answers lay far beyond the reach of science.

  12. WebHybrid says

    @Gast

    Religious lunatics are the ones needing to defend their absurd beliefs and oppressive policies.

    So no, no answers from me. Whatever you need to know, just look it up in the bible. Or the koran or baga vaghita. Or pray for an answer (and if you hear one, well, uh….). Or wear some magic underwear! That’ll provide you with all things knowable. Or ask that infallible drag queen in Italy.

    Or whatever.

  13. says

    the irony, of course, is that all of the “institutions” that he’s still choosing defend are the very reason he remained closeted (and frankly deluded about reality) for so bloody long.

    perhaps, now, folks like him will realize that we do indeed need LGBT-education in the public school system. starting at the elementary school age. jennifer has two daddies. billy’s big brother has a boyfriend. gay people freakin’ exist. they’re your classmates, your teachers, your friend’s parents, your own family.

    GOP bobbleheads will of course oppose teaching children about the realities of LGBT people. and this coward, ten bucks says, will likely not raise his voice against it.

    even though such an approach to education would have liberated him decades before.

    there’s a very specific reason that the catholic church indoctrinates children into their web at age 8, folks.

    all this highschool bullying stuff and highschool outreach is usually too little too late. get to the root. LGBT people exist. there are gay kids in every class. education needs to start at the elementary level.

    it’s about more than just rights. it’s about a culture of understanding. which this man, by throwing his weight behind the GOP, is actually working against.

  14. natamaxxx says

    “How so? I’m sorry but where exactly do you believe all that exists comes from?”

    No one knows – not him, nor I, nor you, and least of all anyone who put pen to paper to write that “holy” book of lies and mythology that has ruined more lives than can ever be counted. Including this state rep who felt he had no choice but to live a lie and the poor woman that married him, who now knows she was also living a lie when she could have been with a man who really loved her instead.

  15. says

    “The Republican Party is all about the government needing to stay out of people’s lives.”

    As @DAVIDINHOUSTON points out, this is a complete crock. The 2012 Republican party is nothing of the kind. It’s all about government intruding in people’s personal lives and in trampling on our civil rights. So he’s delusional on that front, still warped by the Party propaganda.

    On a personal level, good for him for finally coming out. There is no happiness from inside the closet and no political clout. It’s better to be an openly gay representative than one who is continuing to hide in shame. If he takes off his rose-colored glasses, he can be a more effective legislator. If he’s smart, he can try to move his Party out of its path to extinction and towards the non-interference stance he mistakenly thinks is already there.

  16. Joey says

    Just because man, through religion, tries to remake God in his own image does not mean that God doesn’t exist. It just means that the god created by our common religion doesn’t exist.

    The Supreme Reality is far too vast and complicated to be chained to the little mind of man, be it through religion or science.

  17. Rob says

    While I think public examples of people rejecting religious doctrine in favor of personal authenticity are always helpful, I would look for some apology on his part for his past anti-gay votes. And how do we categorize his support for Mitt Romney who adopted viciously anti gay policies?

    The gay Republican is full of contradictions and it’s a weird path. They must really, really love the idea of small government for all the personal torment they endure and create. Until a hurricane washes away their belongings anyway.

    Now that they are all trying to avoid taxing the wealthy the ruse is up, however. When it’s just tax policy on the table they show their true colors- it’s about selfishness and greed. In a general election they can blather on about this guy’s character or that scandal, but when taxes are isolated as the issue we can see what they want above all else. Money.

  18. UFFDA says

    GAST – look outside the box, in your case the Christian one. There is no coherent or sensible religion as such anywhere…but beyond them all is an enormous body of metaphysical literature and ongoing comment which sounds more right than all the rest put together – sans doctrin, atonement, virgin birth, sans priesthoods, devils and original sin.

    I have a daily, heartfelt, upbeat, conscious faith built on the synchronicity of clues continually placed before me by what I can only call the Universe. It’s wholly personal and definitely a matter of choosing to trust, recognize or believe. Best is that you don’t have to do it at all unless you are willing to let your feelings be your guide.

    I know all the counter arguments. It is they which lead you to a full stop. Then you can choose what feels best, or nothing at all. There’s no hurry just an open road.

  19. says

    @Rob, it’s more like this – to be a “gay republican who is accepted (read: tolerated, conditionally) by the GOP all one must do is never, ever, call out and rise up against the bigotry and prejudice of the GOP’S policies and campaign tactics.”

    you get gay republicans who say thigns like “i’ve never been treated badly as a gay person by republicans, but gays treat me bad for being a republican”
    which is some intellectually dishonest bunk, of course.

    of course the GOP is faux-nice to you. you cower before them.

  20. Henry Holland says

    Where do we come from? Easy, Joni Mitchell told us in 1969:

    We are stardust
    We are golden
    We are billion year old carbon

    She was off by 3.5 billion years, but we are literally the product of the carbon from exploding stars. We can see to within 400 million years of the Big Bang, and when the Webb Space Telescope goes up in 2018, we’ll be able to see the beginning of the universe. What happened before the Big Bang? Still under investigation, I favor the multiverse model.

    The only reason a lot of people buy in to religion is because they want to believe they get a cosmic do-over, that they’ll get another chance at life when they die here on our tiny planet in our tiny galaxy in a suburb of the universe. Well, religion has had 8,000 years to prove it and they’ve got nothing, nada, nichts, zilch.

  21. Mitch says

    Congratulations on coming out of the closet. But what may seem like a big step to you is only a small, almost insignificant one. You’ll continue to be one hot mess until you get out of the abusive relationships (Catholic church, Boy Scouts, and Republican Party) that kept you there.

  22. Craig S says

    I’ve always acknowledged that I have immense difficulty wrapping my head around the logical contortions that are necessary for a gay person to identify politically with the Republicans — but at the same time, I can acknowledge that if we want to see the Republican Party actually change its tune on LGBT issues, we need to have people in their camp making our case too.

    Remember what Tammy Baldwin said on election night about the difference between people talking about you if you’re outside the room and people talking with you if you’re in it — we don’t necessarily have to agree with the likes of Mike Fleck or Richard Tisei on everything, but if their presence in the GOP helps that party to realize that they should adjust their thinking because we’re not the enemy, then that can only be a good thing.

    So by all means, congratulations to Mike Fleck.

  23. Lymis says

    I wish him well. Sorry about his career, which I suspect just ended.

    I do wonder what his anti-gay voting record has been up until now. If he’s been privately closeted, then good for him. If he’s been actively working against us, just “Hey, I’m out now!” doesn’t mean all is forgiven.

  24. says

    the thing is, Craig S, the GOP’s anti-gay stances dont’ exist because “republicans don’t yet truly know enough LGBT people to change their minds” but because the GOP’s fiscal policies in no way help their base.

    this is the reality. every country, all over the world, has their party/parties that run on anti-gay policies. these same parties have fiscal/healthcare policies that screw over their base. hence, the anti-gay angle.

    a republican can’t walk into a townhall meeting and say “Hey! vote for me and i’ll ensure a tax break for the wealthiest americans, and not you, and you’ll still be pretty much in a bad financial bind.”

    instead they say “dontcha hate those gays?”
    the idiots scream “YES!”, vote GOP, and vote against their own best economic interests.

    the sad reality about gay republicans is that as long as they sit on their hands and refuse to call out the prejudice within their own party, they aren’t exactly doing any of the necessary work.

    where in this man’s confessional has he addressed the fears of being openly gay in the anti-gay party? he didnt’ mention it. wimps never can.

    in a perfect world gay republicans would be out grassroots-ing it to show their fellow republicans how and why they should support LGBT Equality.

    dont’ hold your breath that this fella will do it.

  25. Mike says

    “The Republican Party is all about the government needing to stay out of people’s lives.” Oh please tell us another lie since you have been not telling the truth for 39 years.

  26. says

    fun fact – only gay republicans, and in fact *most* republicans, are the One-Issue Voters.

    and that one issue is bigotry for the straights, and cowardice for the gays.

    you’re not “seeing more issues” by being gay and voting republican. you’re basing your vote on your pathetic need for your piece-of-s**t family to tolerate you conditionally.

    check out his voting records. expanded wiretapping, eh? nice.

    so much for smaller government, eh?

    this man isnt’ someone we’d want on our team. move along, blanche.

  27. Caliban says

    Um, if Rep Fleck is so concerned with being honest, and the Republican party isn’t a one-issue party, why did he wait until AFTER the election to come out? Was he afraid the GOP might field a challenger for his seat or Republican voters would reject him if they knew he was gay?

    Because the timing of this, right AFTER the election, is… interesting.

  28. Icebloo says

    I bet he still votes AGAINST us every time he can just to impress the Republican Party and improve his chances of promotion !

    He is yet again a perfect example of all the self hating gays out there who flock to the Republican Party thinking it will somehow “cure” them or somehow they are less bad if they support a political party who claim to have the moral high ground (even though in reality they are lower than a snake’s belly!).

    He’s still a Republican so I hope he gets voted out next time. I also hope he gets throw out of the scouts so he can experience the kind of hate and bigot he and his party have inflicted on others for all these years.

  29. NotaRepublican says

    I wish Mr. Fleck all the best, and URGE him to keep his religion to himself while he does the peoples work. The Bible and the US Constitution are two diametrically opposing documents, and I will continue to place my “faith”in the work of Jefferson, Adams and the other founders of our republic: not in the written oppression of generations of lunatics.

  30. KC says

    This man’s experience shows how far we still have to go as humans/society. At least he’s taking a few baby steps. In my opinion we’re still in the infancy of the evolution of understanding and acceptance of people who are “different” particularly when assessed on a global scale. This includes a multitude of differences including sexual orientation. I think our greatest weapon is to continue to come out and share our individual experiences with as many others as often as possible. Live openly and honestly. Come out to make the world a better and more honest place!

    Personally I’m a huge opponent of all religions beliefs and find it a huge black hole on human development and intellectual evolution. As to where we all came from — I think science has developed some likely theories. And while I’m naturally curious and amazed at most of the unanswered or unanswerable questions such as this one I don’t understand why people are so hung up on this. Who the hell cares? I’d so much rather that we spend our emotional energy on living today and learning to love ourselves and others rather than continuing to spin our wheels on matters that don’t ultimately matter.

  31. Chris says

    Ex gay therapy kills LGBT people. Thank God he came out, we need more gay Christians working to help free LGBT people. Maybe he is bisexual, I just hope he does not turn out to be another one of those fake gay Christians who say they are also Republican who say that they are gay to try and get gay votes. The proof is in what he does now, will he help open the Boy Scouts of America so LGBT people can be a member? How will he help LGBT people get their marriage Civil Rights? How will he help LGBT people get good jobs and keep them? I will be watching what he does.

  32. Lee says

    Wow so much hatred for religon fact is the majority of gay and lesbian people have a religous belief I’m proud to be Jewish and love g-d but I’m also fine with my sexuality, y’all have to relize this in not an either/or type thing you can be religous and openly gay.

  33. simon says

    Religion gives us false hope. Bertrand Russell put it like this:
    no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave, that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspirations, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system.

  34. StillMarriedinCA says

    He can start by being a spokesperson against the ex-gay “therapies” and all of that hateful destructive crap. Then he can concentrate on challenging the Boy Scouts and their hateful policies. Then he can convince his church that gays deserve equal rights. Then he can do the same with the GOP.
    Then, and only then, can he be forgiven for aiding and abetting the enemy.
    I won’t hold my breath.

  35. UFFDA says

    SIMON – what nonsense. You can have as much of nothing as you want. Many of us heartily believe in many things, and dying with these beliefs means we do in fact have them. You have no say or sway in the matter.

  36. simon says

    UFFDA, please reread the nonsense of Bertrand Russell above. Your belief will perish with your body unless you believe in such nonsense as “soul” and “God”.

  37. Lee says

    @ECHTKULTIG not all organized religons are evil some have committed wrongs but others have done great things to say all religons are like say the catholic church is as bad as sayin all gays are like Jeffery dahmer. I’m Jewish and the overwhelming majority of Jewish temples are very gay friendly.

  38. is there a badge for that? says

    Well, I just have to wonder, is there a boyfriend in all of this self-righteous “coming out”? Did he finally meet a guy that every time he looked at, he pitched a tent, like a good Eagle Scout would do?

    I think the easy availability of “gay stuff” on the internet is going to bring out a lot more closeted gay men. It’s harder to deny who you are when you realize you’re not the only one, not the first one, and that some of those others are just too hot to pass by.

  39. Diogenes Arktos says

    Fleck is a member of the Religious Right. He went to Liberty University and sought out Christian “counseling”.

    While I agree with the distinction, there is too much religious hatred which wraps itself in the flag of religious criticism. While I was raised evangelical = conservative but to the left of the Religious Right, I left that flavor of Christianity because I could no longer live there – even before I began to deal with my being gay. I am now proudly Episcopalian.

  40. DJ says

    Mike is a hero. Forget party affiliation. Know thy truth self evidence. MLK Saided. Be true to yourself…man in the mirror. I know Mike and he’s a Angel. One of the nicest guys you could ever meet. Very cute too. Bless you Mike. I came out at 7 years old in 1968 to my parents. I’m also black and born again Christian since I was 12. Boys out till I was 18. Model actor. Engaged but can’t get married in PA(yawn) which is so lame boring and tired and backwards racist and corny. But anyway Gods speed Mike. Heck Joshua Speed was Abe Lincoln’s boy toy. USA stop living in the rock ages. Being gay is no big deal. Its biological. Can’t change it.

  41. june sullivan says

    It is important to work with our President to come up with a solution for the fiscal clip.As the Democratics are saying the Reps are not coming up with any ideas.This is all about 2% of Americans taxes going up.It has always been Medical and anything else that has help the poor that has been cut.Unfortunatly we all are going to suffer this time around instead of just yhe poor and middle class

  42. Rob Zeleniak says

    What we really need are better therapists like Fleck’s who told him the truth about how his priorities were damaging his life. Congratulations for his courage to live his life free of the burdens of deception.

  43. P says

    @Rob Zeleniak:
    Agreed, as personally heroic as coming out must have been for Fleck, would he have done it without a *REAL* therapist sitting him down and giving him the old “listen honey…”? Unlikely. I think one of the *new* lessons that the public can draw from this (sorry, but that the GOP is filled with self-loathing closet cases is really old news) is witnessing someone who consulted a religious ‘therapist’ who was probably not qualified and didn’t help him at all, while talking to a real, professional, religiously unbiased therapist brought him closer to self-acceptance and happiness. It’s yet another body blow to the ex-gay movement’s crumbling credibility. And maybe some other GOP closet cases will reconsider that next appointment with the Liberty University graduate and pick up the phone and call up a real shrink’s office.

  44. Stefan says

    Some people are really bitter. He’s a politician who might actually be in a position to do some good, and came to terms with his sexuality. He’s still religious because he sees that there is some potential for good in it. Sure, it can lead to bad stuff but I’m not sure what grouping of human beings in this world doesn’t have the potential for good and bad, whether religion or the LGBT community. And a lot of people become Republican because they believe in the core of what the party originally was–fiscal restraint, small government, personal liberty. Again, it’s got a bad platform now because people warped it, but it could become a force for good again.

    Sometimes people stay with things that seem outmoded or silly to you because they’re scared of change. And that’s not good. But sometimes they stick with it because they really think that it’s possible for us to work from within to change our institutions. Until it becomes clearer which side of things this guy is on, why not give him the benefit of the doubt instead of spewing vitriol?

  45. andrew says

    @Lee: I guess you can be religious and openly gay if you ignore some of the b*ll s*it that is in your bible. Especially what folks call the Old Testament. You can also be a moral human being if you ignore some of the horrible morality yahweh preached to his people. You know, like kill all the people even the little children in the towns that you conquer. Or stone to death the guy who was gathering wood on the Sabbath, or kill 70,000 people because yahweh was pissed that David took a census of his people and on and on with the biblical horrors. Free yourself from all that primitive nonsense and really live as a free man.

  46. simon says

    Besides being immoral, one needs suspension of belief to take seriously the words of some primitive men barely out of their caves. Yet we have people here who prefer to find answers about the natural world in those fairy tales. It is even more unfortunate that the Christian Talibans interpret those words in a certain way to oppose social changes everywhere in the World.

  47. says

    “me” “me” “me” “my” “I”…
    what exactly has he or does he plan to fo for the GAY COMMUNITY…that’s what I really want to know!

    he is after all an elected official with great influence on laws. Whats his plans for MILLIONS OF GAYS!??!

  48. C.J says

    Whenever I hear a gay person preach about God and their religion…I know there’s some internalized homophobia in there as well. Notice how most religious gays rarely call out their churches and fellow religious people on homophobia? and when our community calls their church crowd out, religious gays are first in line to say “stop being so militant. people have a right to be homophobic”

    religious gays want the best of both worlds without actually ever standing up for something.

    No thanks.

  49. Paul in Honolulu says

    I’m a born-again gay Christian whose husband of 45 years standing died last year. I have no trouble connecting and living with my innate gayness and my personal relationship with Jesus. The members of my church fully support me as an open and proud gay Christian. Jesus Himself said to His disciples that they would be mocked and persecuted for believing in Him. I see plenty of that on this site.

  50. says

    The mind of man has not evolved enough to understand the meaning of life, where we really came from and what the purpose of life is really all about. Thus we come up with evolution and the bible, so take your pick. If you pick the bible, my hope is you’re not a homophobe.

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