Maine Representative Mike Michaud, who is currently the Democratic candidate for governor of the state, came out as gay in an editorial published in a number of Maine newspapers on Monday. Rather than use the disclosure as a platform to talk about gay rights, his main point is that his personal life has no bearing on his role as a policymaker.
Writing about previous efforts to discredit his campaign, Michaud called out those lobbying against him as desperate.
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, who is leading in the close race according to recent polling, wrote about his family's history in the state of Maine—he was a third-generation mill worker—and about how he doesn't want his admission to overshadow or distract from the campaign.
[Pictured: Michaud campaigning in 2010]
Growing up in a large Franco-American Catholic family, it’s never been in my nature to talk about myself. I write this now merely to let my opponents and the outside interests who fund them know that I am not ashamed of who I am. And if seeing someone from my background, in my position openly acknowledge the fact that he’s gay makes it a little bit easier for future generations to live their lives openly and without fear, all the better.
I don’t plan to make my personal life or my opponents’ personal lives an issue in this campaign. We’ve had enough negativity in our politics and too many personal attacks over the last few years. We owe it to the people of Maine to focus on how we get our state back on track.
Michaud is now the most senior out member of the House of Representatives, and if elected governor, will be the first openly gay candidate elected as state governor. Same-sex marriage became legal in Maine at the end of 2012.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.