Rep. Michael H. Michaud went on the offensive Monday against “whisper campaigns” about his sexuality, declaring himself a gay man in a Bangor Daily News op-ed — an announcement that garnered Democratic endorsements from all around the country for the six-term Maine Democrat who is running for governor.
According to campaign spokeswoman Lizzy Reinholt, Michaud had previously come out to friends and family members — including, apparently, other members of Congress — but felt compelled to address the issue publicly because of outside forces that were up to no good.
“Like most Mainers, Mike believes his private life is just that, private,” Reinholt said of Michaud’s decision to keep quiet until now. “This election is too important to let personal matters distract from the important issues at hand … like the economy, health care and education.”
Michaud did not shrink from the task in his editorial — “That may seem like a big announcement to some people. For me, it’s just a part of who I am,” he wrote — urging others, who might perhaps be wrestling with a similar decision, to take heart.
“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,” Michaud suggested in print.
Fellow Maine Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree rallied around her delegation partner.
I am so proud to serve with @repmikemichaud: http://t.co/NrSkQfRV1V #mepolitics
— Chellie Pingree (@chelliepingree) November 4, 2013
My #gaydar missed it, but happy to welcome @RepMikeMichaud to team #lgbt!
— Jared Polis (@jaredpolis) November 4, 2013
“Mike Michaud is the same leader with integrity, character, and the right vision for Maine that he was before this announcement, and I continue to support him completely,” Cain declared in an official statement. “I am proud to consider Mike Michaud one of my friends, I am proud to have Mike Michaud as my representative in Washington, and I am just as proud to support his candidacy for governor."