The state of Maine has seen much progress over the last few years when it comes to gay issues. Not only have voters passed a gay marriage bill in the state, but also voters may soon vote in the nation’s first openly gay governor. The evolution of change and equality was highlighted at Saturday’s gay pride parade in Portland led by openly gay gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud.
The parade was the highlight of Portland’s 10-day LGBT pride festival and organizers of the parade were proud to announce that the parade drew in approximately 3,000 people. But the headline was the person leading the hundreds of people who marched in the parade. Democratic candidate Mike Michaud, who came out as gay last fall, served as one of the parade’s grand marshals. Michaud doesn’t want his sexuality to be a big issue in the race for Governor, but he also realizes winning will represent history and will also be a symbol for change.
Speaking in front of supporters, Michaud expressed how proud he was to be from the state of Maine and also gave recognition to his state for passing marriage equality by popular vote. He said, "Maine has truly led the way when you look at equality issues throughout the country.” Equality was the theme of the festival and is also a theme in the race for governor. Eliot Cutler, an independent candidate for governor, also attended the parade and told the crowed that every Mainer deserved equal rights and equal opportunity and it was his goal to make that happen.
Michaud will be one of few gay candidates looking to make history in the polls. The Maine gubernatorial candidate is one of two candidates running for governor. And there are three gay Republican candidates seeking seats in Congress. During the parade, Michaud shook hands and took pictures with attendees while his supporters chanted “We like Mike.” Overall, it was a great political climate in Portland on Saturday, but more importantly, the Southern Maine Pride Parade and Festival drew together many voices collaborated as once collective movement of change.