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Gay rights group rebuked for endorsing gay U.S. rep in Maine governor’s race

Friday, January 3, 2014

AUGUSTA, Maine — A governor’s race endorsement for U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud by the group that successfully pushed for same-sex marriage in Maine drew a swift rebuke Thursday from independent Eliot Cutler, who pointed out inconsistencies in the congressman’s record when it comes to supporting gay rights during his time in the state Legislature.

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine)

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine)

EqualityMaine’s announcement that it’s backing Michaud, a Democrat who would become the first openly gay person to be elected governor in the U.S., sparked an early tussle between the two candidates vying to unseat Republican Gov. Paul LePage in November.

Cutler’s campaign called the endorsement a “partisan political decision” and accused Michaud of trying to reinvent his image to cover up the fact that he voted against equal rights for gays and lesbians 19 times while in the Maine Legislature, including measures aimed at prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing and employment.

Michaud contends his position on gay-rights issues have evolved over the years, pointing to the Democrat’s “nearly perfect” record on equality issues since entering Congress in 2003, including his co-sponsorship of a bill to prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

“He’s a strong pro-equality candidate who has been a leader on these issues in Congress,” said Lizzie Reinholt, a spokeswoman for Michaud, who announced in November that he’s gay to clear up any questions after what he descried as “whisper campaigns, insinuations and push-polls.” ”It’s clear that Cutler is trying to make this an issue by only giving voters some of the facts.”

Crystal Canney, a spokeswoman for Cutler’s campaign, said it hopes to prevent the “reinvention of Mike Michaud” on issues where his past voting record stands in contrast to where he stands now.

Michaud’s record since joining Congress hasn’t been perfect, Canney said. In 2006, Mi chaud said he supported a Maine law that defined marriage as between a man and a woman, but voted against a federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriage because he believes that issue should be left to the states.

Meanwhile, during the 2010 campaign, Eliot said he opposed sending the same-sex marriage question to Maine voters, calling it “a matter of equal protection under the law,” not a subject for referendum. Maine voters approved the measure in 2012.

“EqualityMaine cannot take away Eliot Cutler’s record on these issues, any more than they can create a new record for Mike Michaud,” Canney said.

Brent Littlefield, political adviser for LePage’s re-election campaign, said the governor is focused on creating jobs and making all Mainers more prosperous.

EqualityMaine said it’s confident that Michaud would best stand up for issues that are important to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community while boosting the economy, providing a ffordable health care to residents and helping Maine students succeed, said Ali Vander Zanden, the organization’s political director.

“In 2012, Maine made history when we won the nation’s first proactive marriage initiative,” Vander Zanden said. “Now it’s time to come together and make history again by electing Mike Michaud as our state’s next governor and the first openly gay governor in America.”

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14 more reader comments:

  1. Where are all the Christians to defend freedom of speech and human rights HERE?

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 4:48pm
  2. if it is true that Michaud, as a gay man, voted against equality, then gays in Maine should reject him as a candidate. it is one thing for a heterosexual candidate to say his views have evolved, but for a gay man to say his views on his own rights are evolving? that’s just ridiculous. it’s like a pre-Civil War black man in the south saying he’s on the fence about slavery. if his voting record is as what his opponent says, then fuck this guy

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 5:20pm
  3. OF COURSE the chastise us, they only claim that the rights is a right when it benefits teir own agenda.

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 5:21pm
  4. I have a problem with your comparison to gay rights and Slavery. There really is no comparison. But I do agree that the dude shouldn’t be trusted to do what is right. If he can’t come to terms with himself before, what makes you think outside influences wouldn’t cause him to vote against what he knows is right.

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 5:30pm
  5. Just because a candidate is gay doesn’t mean he is worth voting for. Think before you vote, people.

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 5:58pm
  6. Being gay really has no bearing on a person's qualifications for office, but it is no detriment either.

    Replied on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 7:32pm
  7. If you are for Gay , Bi-sexual, Transgender Lesbian, Asexual and Pan-sexual Rights, Set your profile picture to this Black Square in Protest of Facebook allowing anti Gay Pages to Torment Individuals

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 6:18pm
  8. how bout freedom for us in the lgbt community nothing wrong with them endorsing a candidate that supports there views, Christians aren’t the only ones with rights we lesbians and our gay brothers have them to

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 7:41pm
  9. Ekle Son Durumlari Begen Hemen Duvarindayim B| <3 :) :D <3 B| Ekle <3 :) ? 96

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 9:20pm
  10. Grow up people!

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 12:04am
  11. Don’t tell people who they should vote for, or not support, it could blow up in your face.

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 1:43am
  12. He cannot be trusted. He has lied way to much.

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 1:50am
  13. Daric, there’s no comparison between gay rights and slavery? Really? Yeah, try telling that to the Holocaust survivors who were targeted for being gay. I’m sure they could tell you that they suffered just as much as anyone. Besides, Brian’s comment was clearly not even a direct comparison between gay rights and slavery. Learn to read.

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 2:40am
  14. what he does in his bedroom has nothing to do with what he’ll do as the head of state. his adventures in the bedroom would never be brought up if he were straight

    Posted on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 2:10pm