Equality Maine Endorses Gay Gubernatorial Candidate Mike Michaud, Angers Pro-Equality Opponent

MikemichaudEqualityMaine, the state's most prominent gay rights advocacy group, has officially backed openly gay Democratic Rep. Mike Michaud (right) in the 2014 gubernatorial race. The independent candidate, Eliot Cutler (below, right), who has a strong history of financial support for EqualityMaine and ideological support for gay rights, has fired back at the decision. Cutler, and other critics of the decision, agree that Rep. Michaud's support for gay rights issues has not always been so steady, though he has arguably evolved and become, in recent years, a huge ally for Maine's LGBT citizens. This evolution is, of course, in line with his own sexuality; he officially came out in November.

Bangor Daily News reports:

Cutler’s campaign on Thursday dismissed the EqualityMaine endorsement as “a partisan political decision, not a principled one.” Cutler spokeswoman Crystal Canney issued a statement contrasting the independent’s history supporting gay rights with Michaud’s background on the issue.

“Eliot Cutler and his family have stood side by side with the [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual] community for decades as outspoken advocates and supporters. Mike Michaud’s voting record in the Maine Legislature — 19 consecutive votes against equal rights for the LGBT community — speaks for itself,” Canney said. “EqualityMaine cannot take away Eliot Cutler’s record on these issues, any more than they can create a new record for Mike Michaud.”


Michaud was of course more pleased by the announcement:

“I’m deeply humbled by this endorsement. The efforts of EqualityMaine have truly changed hearts and minds, and made our state a better place for all Mainers to live, work and raise a family,” [Michaud] said. “For years I have been honored to stand with EqualityMaine and other LGBT organizations as we’ve fought for full equality for all Maine people, and I will continue to stand with them as governor of Maine. Together we have made tremendous progress at the state and federal level, but there is still more work to be done.”

What do you think about Equality Maine's decision?


  1. Mark says

    The state has a rabidly anti-gay governor, whose only chance of reelection is Cutler siphoning off liberal votes. Cutler and Michaud both have good records (Michaud had a 95% HRC rating in Congress) on equality issues. (Cutler’s good record, it’s worth pointing out, is purely rhetorical–he’s never had to take a vote in Congress.) Michaud also would be the first-ever openly gay governor. It would have been the height of irresponsibility for Equality Maine to have endorsed anyone other than Michaud–openly gay candidate, with a pro-gay record, who actually has a chance of winning.

  2. JT says

    My opinion is Equality Maine has made the wrong decision. 19 votes against equal rights for the LGBT community from a closet case who has just had the guts to come out compared to an ally who’s had our back for decades doesn’t seem right. If I were living in Maine and it was up to me, I’d be voting for Cutler.

  3. Robert says

    I’m sick of liars and miscreants misusing the word ‘evolving’ for acceptance of our fundamental rights. You can’t evolve on an issue. You either accept it or you don’t. This is another way of avoiding the truth while trying to appear that you are something you’re not. Anyone that buys the evolving argument is a fool and an idiot. I didn’t take it like a good pigeon from President Obama, I’m not going to take it now.

  4. Tracy says

    I ask myself, if Michaud was not gay, would he still have received the endorsement. With the little info from this article, I am guessing not. We are going to run into this more and more. Does a candidate being gay automatically get the endorsement? We faced this in Seattle and I know many people who didnt question our new Mayor’s ability to govern a city, his being gay was enough.

  5. SpaceCadet says

    Yeah, go for the straight guy who always by principle had the guts to be pro-gay. And what a way to show loyalty to the dude too after giving the organization money. Wow.

  6. SpaceCadet says

    Oh, and I would never vote for a candidate just because he was gay. I would vote based on the person’s character and stance on the issues.

  7. TampaZeke says

    Politics suck sometimes. I think Cutler has a better record of support but I think progressive Mainers are desperate to get LePage out of office and they feel they have a better chance with a Democrat than an Independent. Equality Maine’s primary goal is to support the person most likely to be able to beat Lepage. Splitting the progressive/moderate vote is how LePage got into the governor’s mansion in the first place. EM and other progressive orgs are doing what it takes to make sure that doesn’t happen again. This endorsement is about much, much more than who has the best record on gay rights. I support ANYTHING and ANYONE who can put the insane teabagger out on his ass!

  8. ScottCA says

    Cutler is a spoiler whose prior campaign resulted in the horrible LePage being elected. Good for Equality Maine.

  9. Randy says

    If you’re going to call yourself “Equality” then you had better live up to it. This smells of bias against the straight candidate, who clearly has a superior track record on LGBT issues.

  10. Mark says

    In the House, where he’s served since 2002, Michaud opposed DADT, opposed Bush’s anti-marriage constitutional amendment, and supported a trans-inclusive version of ENDA. It’s hard to argue with that record.

    It’s true that Cutler says that his record on gay rights in the 1990s was better than Michaud’s, when Michaud was in the Maine legislature and Cutler was serving as a lobbyist, based out of state. Since, as a lobbyist, Cutler took no votes, I suppose some people take him at his word on how he would have voted had he returned to Maine, run for office, and served in the legislature. But I don’t see why Equality Maine has to do so.

    The current polling shows Michaud and LePage basically tied and Cutler third with around 15 percent, drawing his support overwhelmingly from Democrats and independents. Since a vote for Cutler increases the chances of LePage winning with a plurality, and since Cutler and Michaud have the same stated positions on how they would handle gay rights as governor, I don’t see why Equality Maine should endorse the straight candidate who has little chance of winning over the gay candidate who has a good chance of victory.

  11. lukefromcanada says

    its funny, it used to be we don’t want the gay vote we refuse to go after it, now its a highly sought after vote, we saw that with the doma briefs and the rush to support marriage equality BEFORE the rulings came. My how things have changed.

  12. Bryan says

    Just because a candidate is gay does not mean the community should support him. Just as we shouldn’t support a candidate because he’s given money to an organization. Blackmail, much? It’s extremely poor form to attack an organization because they don’t endorse you.

  13. Just_a_guy says

    Bravo EqualityMaine. A tough decision for EqualityMaine, but apparently the right one, as Mark and Tampazeke point out peruasively.

    I just want to add two cheers for supporting our gay brothers. A little-talked-about phenomena is coded antigay bias BY openly gay folk. A tendency to endorse leadership by even the most tepid straight ally over someone actually gay — as though afraid to really get behind one of our own — is a symptom. Even if the straight ally candidate here has a better record on gay rights, I’ve gotta believe that the vehement comments above against the gay candidate exhibit at least remnants of coded homophobia. It’s a unique brand of homophobia that today’s openly gay men too often wear as if it’s their badge to prove their legitimacy.

    Never mind tampazeks’s thoroughly salient political explanations for a moment. What is so wrong with championing one of our own?

  14. Francis says

    Everything Mark said x100. If Michaud had a recent anti-gay record or was staunchly conservative, basis for complaints would be valid. Not in this case. And yes, being gay gave Michaud a leg up. Equality Maine is an LGBT organization. Two pro-gay candidates, one being gay, would be the first gay Governor? You choose him.

  15. K in VA says

    An endorsement is not (and should never be) a reward for past words and deeds. What an endorsement is (and should always be) is an announcement of who you think will act in your group’s interests in the future.

  16. Alice says

    Michaud has a great record while in Congress. When he was in the state legislature, he represented a very conservative district and took some pro-LGBT rights votes. Those were not easy political calls by any means (and Cutler, has zero record on legislative votes and was no leader or activist in that period.) I agree with Maine columnist Ethan Strimling that Michaud has an excellent record overall: http://agreetodisagree.bangordailynews.com/2014/01/06/maine-politics/like-king-and-clinton-michaud-never-looked-back-on-equality/

  17. Pablo says

    Those 19 votes refer to Michaud’s time in state government, way way back nearly two decades ago. He has consistently been supportive of gay rights in his time as a US rep.

  18. Pablo says

    Those 19 votes refer to Michaud’s time in state government, way way back nearly two decades ago. He also had pro-gay votes during that time too…all the while representing a very Catholic and conservative district. Then later, he has consistently been supportive of gay rights in his time as a US rep.

  19. John C says

    Mark and Tampazeke nailed it. It’s a matter of state politics far more than “Let’s pick the gay guy over the straight guy.”

  20. Richard says

    I’d need more info, but @TRACY comparing Ed Murray (11 years in the house, 6 in the senate) is silly.

    I think, like everything in life, it’s important to realistically evaluate the information presented. Despite my own love for progressive politics, I still have to look at why endorsements exist In the first place and who they aim to progress within politics. I’ve seen my own political allies be just as shady as Karl Rove.

    I’ll be interested to see how this plays out.

  21. Renfield says

    The issue isn’t about who’s politically gayer. It’s that Maine is governed by an imbecile and these two guys splitting the vote could guarantee his re-election. And everybody knows where the imbecile stands.