Rep. Mike Michaud (D-ME) is running for governor of Maine. And, as he told the world in a column in the Portland Press Herald, he’s gay.
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.
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?”
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 mill worker 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.
I’m old enough to remember when this kind of news would doom a campaign in utero. Hell, that would have probably doomed a campaign twenty years ago. Now it’s being treated as no big deal, which is as it should be.
The only reason I’m paying attention to it is because, despite the rampant bigotry and fearmongering from some people (ahem John Boehner and his chickenshit hallelujah chorus of Jesus-shouters), being openly gay is rapidly becoming a non-issue to the vast majority of people in this country who aren’t obsessed with the sex lives of people they don’t know. (That doesn’t explain the Kardashians, but then, nothing does.)
I don’t know anything about Mr. Michaud or his politics. Until I read this piece, I’d never heard of him. So I don’t know if he’d be a good governor for Maine or not. But I do know that he’s already made an ally out of me and a lot of other people by writing this piece. And I fervently hope for the day when he or anyone else will not have to write one like it.