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New York City (AFP) – A politician running for governor in the northeastern state of Maine came out as gay Monday, seeking to silence rumors and ask why it should matter.

Democratic Congressman Mike Michaud, 58, would be the first openly gay politician to be elected governor in the United States if he wins the 2014 vote.

He is running against Maine’s Republican Governor Paul LePage, who is seeking a second term.

In an opinion piece published in the Bangor Daily News and the Portland Press Herald, Michaud tackled head on “the whisper campaigns, insinuations and push-polls” about his 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?'”

He said his sexuality had nothing to do with his ability to lead the state of Maine and said he hoped that his disclosure could advance gay rights.

“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.”

Governor of New Jersey Jim McGreevey resigned in 2004 after admitting to an adulterous relationship with another man. He has since divorced wife Dina Matos.

Photo by Mediamodifier from Pixabay

Reprinted with permission from TomDispatch

When it rains, pieces of glass, pottery, and metal rise through the mud in the hills surrounding my Maryland home. The other day, I walked outside barefoot to fetch one of my kid's shoes and a pottery shard stabbed me in the heel. Nursing a minor infection, I wondered how long that fragment dated back.

A neighbor of mine found what he said looked like a cartridge case from an old percussion-cap rifle in his pumpkin patch. He told us that the battle of Monocacy had been fought on these grounds in July 1864, with 1,300 Union and 900 Confederate troops killed or wounded here. The stuff that surfaces in my fields when it storms may or may not be battle artifacts, but it does remind me that the past lingers and that modern America was formed in a civil war.

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