Virginia Delegate Mark D. Sickles publicly came out in an opinion piece published in the Washington Post yesterday. This makes him the second openly gay member of the state legislature.
My life is hardly a secret to political friends and foes. In my first reelection campaign to the House of Delegates in 2005, my opponent used homophobic innuendo in an attempt to discredit me with voters who, he must have presumed, would be appalled to discover that their elected representative was a gay man in a long-term relationship. He told this newspaper and others that mail I sent out (featuring a picture of me playing with a toddler) was “deliberately misleading the voters” because “Mark Sickles does not have a child or a family.” His campaign manager added: “His sexual orientation is a mystery to us. We were just looking for honesty in the campaign.”
He notes that many close friends and family have known he is gay for decades.
The focus on Sickles' opinion piece was the pre-Valentine's Day ruling by a federal judge on marriage equality, which he calls "a historic turning point in the long struggle for equality in the commonwealth."
According to The Richmond Times-Dispatch, "the announcement comes as Sickles and state Sen. Adam P. Ebbin, D-Alexandria, the state's other openly gay legislator, vie with nine other Democrats for the nomination to run for the Northern Virginia congressional seat of retiring Rep. James P. Moran, D-8th."