Maine Congressman and gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud came out today in an op-ed published in newspapers around the state. Michaud is leading in the polls and hints that has made his opponent, Republican Governor Paul LePage, desperate to cut Michaud's lead in any way possible.
Once I jumped to an early lead in the polls, I knew it was only a matter of time before individuals and organizations intent on re-creating the uncertainty that led to our current governor's election three years ago would start their attacks. Already my opponents have tried to blatantly distort my support for a woman's right to choose and my tireless commitment to our nation's veterans.
So I wasn't surprised to learn about the whisper campaigns, insinuations and push-polls some of the people opposed to my candidacy have been using to raise questions about my personal life. 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?"
Michaud has held a political office since 1980, serving in both the Maine House of Representative and the state Senate. He was elected to Congress in 2003. While the gubernatorial candidate says his sexuality shouldn't matter, it must have mattered previously in his career since he served for 33 years without coming out. While Michaud will join the list of out Congress members now, he is not one of the 113 members of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus.
In an e-mailed statement, David Farmer, a senior adviser for the campaign, said, "By addressing this issue in a straightforward and honest way, he's showing that he's a statesman and a strong leader. He believes that Maine voters will base their decision on a candidate's experience, ideas and integrity. And he's not willing to compromise his values, which means treating all people with dignity and respect."
Michaud's gubernatorial campaign manager is former Mainers United for Marriage campaign manager Matt McTighe, who ran the successful effort to legalize same-sex marriage in the state.