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Gay Maine Rep. Michaud: Coming out has been good
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — When the intensely private Rep. Michael H. Michaud laid bare his private life and announced he’s gay, one openly gay congressman joked that the Maine Democrat had never registered on his “gaydar.”
As he prepares to return to Capitol Hill this week as the seventh openly gay member of the U.S. House, Mr. Michaud said the decision to come out last week was a positive experience that drew support from fellow congressmen and hundreds of constituents — even if it was political nastiness that prompted his announcement.
“People know me as Mike. They know my issues are veteran issues, economic development, health care and jobs, and nothing is going to change,” he said.
Mr. Michaud, who’s engaged in a three-way race for governor, used an op-ed article provided to two newspapers and The Associated Press to disclose he’s gay, saying he did so to address “whisper campaigns, insinuations and push-polls” that raised questions about his sexuality.
He said constituents have been supportive, with many finding his honesty refreshing.
“I conveyed to him that I felt it was great that he has this load off his shoulders, and I know he’ll be an even more effective servant for the people of Maine,” he said.
Back in Maine, political observers said Mr. Michaud’s announcement likely won’t have a big impact on the governor’s race. Voters here approved gay marriage a year ago.
Mr. Michaud continued a regular schedule of public events after making his announcement. On Friday, the Maine Association of Police and the Professional Fire Fighters endorsed Mr. Michaud over Republican Gov. Paul LePage, the incumbent, and wealthy independent Eliot Cutler.
Mr. Michaud’s sexual orientation was never mentioned.
“Mike was the same person six years ago when I knew him,” said John Martell, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Maine. “He’s the same person today. It makes no difference whatsoever.”
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