Okay, let’s get the obvious out of the way. Mike being gay was the best and worst kept secret in Maine history. Glad he got it out and out of the way. Anyone who wouldn’t vote for a man or woman because of his or her sexual orientation is a fool and shouldn’t have the right to vote.
That being said, I am disturbed by characterizing this as “courageous.” Rosa Parks was courageous. The early feminists (too numerous to name) were courageous. Martin Luther King was courageous. The gay men and women who came out when it was not popular to do so (and often dangerous) were courageous.
Mike came out because 1) he assumed it would become public in this election, 2) it is better to announce it yourself than to have to explain it in response to a question, and 3) this is the safest time to be gay. Gay marriage is legal in Maine and will, fairly soon, be legal everywhere. The battle is over. This is the equivalent of a soldier volunteering for war after the opponent surrenders. There is nothing courageous about joining a battle that has already been won.
Where was Mike when the first gay marriage referendum was defeated at the polls? Wouldn’t a standing congressman saying he is gay give credence to that battle? Why didn’t he say he was gay when he ran for Congress? Was he scared he would lose the election? Coming out when there is a danger to do so is courage; doing so now is simply political expedience.
Don’t get me wrong: I think there is an element of bravery for any minority to stand up and say what you are, that you are proud about what you are, and you are not going to pretend otherwise. But let’s not confuse politics with taking a political position that is controversial. Mike welcome to the modern world. Where have you been?