(Photo: Reuters/Jim Young)
A gubernatorial candidate in Maine has penned an Op-Ed in which he announces he is gay and asks the question: "Why should my sexuality matter" for the state's upcoming governor's race.
Mike Michaud, a five- term Democratic Congressman running for governor in Maine's 2014 election, made the announcement in an Op-Ed published in three major newspapers in the state on Monday. Michaud wrote that he chose to reveal his sexuality because he had heard of "whisper campaigns" in the form of insinuations and push polls from those who oppose his candidacy, and he decided to reveal his homosexuality so as to stop the rumors.
"Allow me to save them the trouble with a simple, honest answer," Michaud wrote in his Op-Ed. "Yes, I am. But why should it matter?" he questioned.
"Growing up in a large Franco-American Catholic family, it's never been in my nature to talk about myself," Michaud wrote in his column. "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," the democratic lawmaker added.
"I don't plan to make my personal life or my opponents' personal lives an issue in this campaign," he added. "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 running against current Republican Governor Paul LePage and independent candidate Eliot Cutler in the state's gubanatorial race, which won't take place until 2014. If he is elected, he would become the first openly gay governor elected to office; former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey also announced his homosexuality, but after he had taken office.