The state of Maine could be the home of the nation’s first openly gay governor. As the Bangor Daily News reports on November 4, Rep. Mike Michaud, the likely 2014 Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Maine has announced that he is gay.
Michaud, a six-term congressman, doesn’t know why his sexuality should matter as there has been openly gay candidates who have won their candidacies without little effect, but a seat as high as governor will be a big deal because he will be the first.
In a column submitted by Michaud to the Bangor Daily News, he not only comes out as gay, he also explains, in his opinion, why it shouldn’t matter. He starts out by expressing his ambition to become governor.
“When I entered the race for governor, I did so because I love the state of Maine and am tired of seeing it dragged in the wrong direction. There was never any question that it would be a tough race, but I know I have the vision, the experience and the commitment to lead Maine forward.”
He addressed rumors about his sexuality and questions about his personal life as it pertained to people who were against his candidacy and their commitment to tarnishing his name. His announcement that he is gay was not a major revelation to him, but a further assentation as to who he is as an individual, which has no impact on his ability to lead the state of Maine. He laid rumors to rest with the following:
“Allow me to save them the trouble with a simple, honest answer: ‘Yes, I am. But why should it matter?’ 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 millworker 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.”
Michaud summed up his column with his belief that a person should be judged by the content of their character and should not be judged backed on “his or her race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.”
He views it as a value to which most Mainers share, but whether it is true or not will be answered on the ballots. This is a state that only just recently legalized gay marriage, but a state that is progressing forwards when it comes to gay rights. So why should it matter? It shouldn’t matter, but unfortunately it will continue to matter until there are more openly gay politicians in high positions who prove any stereotypes or stigmas associated with homosexuality wrong.
Mike Michaud does understand he will be in for a tough fight; one that he hopes is based solely on his ability to do the job.
“I know this campaign will not be easy. I know I can’t do it alone. But I’m confident that our collective power can overcome the rancor and divisiveness threatening to pull our state apart. And that if we move forward, together, Maine’s best days are still ahead of us.”
With the announcement, Michaud became the seventh openly gay or bisexual member of the U.S. House of Representatives.