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U.S. Congressman Mike Michaud: 'Yes I am' Gay

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, (D-ME) who is also running for governor of Maine, came out of the closet today in response to "whisper campaigns, insinuations and push-polls some of the people opposed to my candidacy have been using to raise questions about [his] personal life".

MichaudWrites Michaud in a Portland Press Herald op-ed:

"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?'"

Adds Michaud:

That may seem like a big announcement to some people. For me, it’s just a part of who I am, as much as being a third-generation mill worker or a lifelong Mainer. One thing I do know is that it has nothing to do with my ability to lead the state of Maine.

Whether I was punching a time clock at Great Northern Paper Company for 29 years, serving the people of Maine in the state Legislature, or fighting for our nation’s veterans on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, my personal life has never factored into how I do my job.

That’s certainly not going to change if I’m elected governor. While I’ve grown and evolved over the course of my career, I’ve never lost sight of where I came from.

My father worked in the mill for 43 years. My grandfather before him for 40 years. I was the second of six children, and from a young age our parents instilled in us the values of hard work, integrity and honesty.

Most of all, I was brought up believing you should judge a person based on the content of his or her character, not by their race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. That’s a value I know most Mainers share.

MaineMichaud says he does not want to be seen as someone who's ashamed of who he is, and plans to run a positive campaign:

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.

I don’t plan to make my personal life or my opponents’ personal lives an issue in this campaign. We’ve had enough negativity in our politics and too many personal attacks over the last few years. We owe it to the people of Maine to focus on how we get our state back on track.

Michaud is running against incumbent Republican Governor Paul LePage. Asurvey published on October 19th showed Michaud and LePage nearly even, with independent candidate Eliot Cutler behind them by a few percentage points.

Mike Tipping, at the Bangor Daily News, thinks Michaud's coming out will help his campaign.

A few of his thoughts, AFTER THE JUMP...

Mike Tipping, via the Bangor Daily News:

First of all, the Maine electorate is more accepting of fairness and equality for gays and lesbians than the nation as a whole and Mainers have supported a number of civil rights laws, including passing marriage equality for same-sex couples by referendum last year.

Second, many or most anti-gay voters who make their decisions based on these kinds of issues were never going to vote for Michaud anyway. His public support for same-sex marriage and abortion rights had probably already alienated them. In a recent national NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, 20% of voters said mere support for same-sex marriage would be a determining factor for them in voting against a candidate.

Third, the specific dynamics of this particular election may be of benefit to Michaud. Governor LePage seems to have already locked down the conservative end of the electorate (and most of the anti-gay vote) and the fluidity in the race is among the moderate and progressive voters who will decide between Michaud and Cutler. Up to this point, Michaud seems to have had an advantage over Cutler among a wide swath of these voters (and a lead in the polls) because of name recognition and issues of economics and class (the millworker vs. the millionaire), but Cutler has found some purchase on social issues...

...Fourth, this part of Michaud’s identity will make him a symbol for supporters of equal rights for LGBT people across the country (whether he likes it or not) and will likely dramatically increase his fundraising potential.

Read Tipping's full column HERE.

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Comments

  1. Republicans don't use their brains. Why on earth would they think that a whisper campaign about a guy being gay would work? This is the state that was first to have its people put gay marriage on the ballot themselves and vote to legalize it. This is the kind of leader that that state deserves.

    Posted by: Jeff | Nov 4, 2013 8:05:12 AM


  2. How incredibly classy.

    Posted by: yuninv | Nov 4, 2013 8:32:32 AM


  3. I feel like moving to Maine just so I can vote for this guy. If there were ever a perfect role model for politicians, he's the one.

    Posted by: Jack M | Nov 4, 2013 8:38:48 AM


  4. As Maine goes,so goes the nation! I agree with him about the content of his character. At least he is running on his record. I hope the republicans will not stoop to the level of anti-gay rhetroric and based on the issues. I wish him luck and I hope the Gay Victory Fund does not jump on his band wagon just because he is gay! I LIKE MIKE!

    Posted by: Jerry Pritikin the bleacher Preacher | Nov 4, 2013 9:14:22 AM


  5. I hope one day being gay or straight wouldn't matter. However today these steps and coming out are very important. I hope he finds his life now easier.

    Posted by: Matt27 | Nov 4, 2013 9:17:26 AM


  6. Bravo. I applaud him, but if you want to make the point that you're not ashamed of who you are you come out on your own, on your own terms and not because someone forced you out.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Nov 4, 2013 9:23:10 AM


  7. How sad. Now that there is nothing for them to whisper about, what else can they do with their lives ?

    Posted by: Andy Towlette | Nov 4, 2013 10:32:11 AM


  8. @Tampazeke--there's a big difference between being out and making an official statement to the press about your sexual orientation prior to anyone really asking about it. It appears that once he became a public issue, he made a public statement. If he was out before then to those who actually interacted with him on a daily basis, I am fine with it.

    Posted by: jesterama | Nov 4, 2013 11:14:44 AM


  9. I actually was sort of...50/50 last night and thinking the same way Tampazeke did but then I realized that, obviously, now that Rep. Michaud is running for Governor, questions regarding his sexuality are/have been louder and more public. He felt now was the time to nip that and address it. Good for him and he's in a tough race with Paul LePage, I hope he wins and we have our first gay Governor!

    Posted by: Francis #1 | Nov 4, 2013 12:36:32 PM


  10. Republicans don't use their brains. Why on earth would they think that a whisper campaign about a guy being gay would work?"

    The answer is, "Because it worked thirty years ago!" Many Republicans don't seem to understand that times change, that most gay people are no longer ashamed to admit it, and that most straight people no longer see being gay as some sort of illness.

    Posted by: Clayton | Nov 4, 2013 3:41:04 PM


  11. I am very proud of my home state. Having been born there and lived there most of my life, Maine has always been a place where people are respected as individuals, judged by their ethics and commitment to personal responsibility. My adopted Arizona is at the opposite end of not only the country, but in it's attitude to the gay community. Governor LePage has been slowly selling Maine to Canadian interests and is not well liked. Michaud has a very good shot at becoming governor and I wish him all the best.

    Posted by: azm | Nov 4, 2013 6:34:03 PM


  12. Classy approach for dealing with the tacky attacks - should do well for him!

    Posted by: dumbnhung | Nov 4, 2013 8:39:23 PM


  13. That's right. It really shouldn't matter if you're gay or straight.

    Especially once you've reached the age where you need pharmaceutical help to achieve an erection, what the hell does it matter?

    Posted by: FFS | Nov 4, 2013 11:31:46 PM


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