Out Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH) just announced that he’s engaged to be married to his boyfriend Vann Bentley.
“We said yes!” Pappas, 41, tweeted. “Vann and I are thrilled to share the news of our engagement and look forward to a lifetime of happiness and togetherness.”
We said yes! Vann and I are thrilled to share the news of our engagement and look forward to a lifetime of happiness and togetherness. pic.twitter.com/mzGomFZD7v
— Chris Pappas (@ChrisPappasNH) December 19, 2021
Pappas was first elected to Congress in 2018 after former Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) decided not to seek reelection. He’s the first out member of Congress from New Hampshire.
His relationship with Bentley came up during his reelection campaign last year, when his Republican opponent Matt Mowers discussed it in a debate less than two weeks before the election.
Health care advocates had accused Mowers of illegibly writing that he worked as a consultant for two pharmaceutical companies in a financial disclosure form earlier that day. Mowers lashed out at Pappas for dating Bentley, who used to be a lobbyist for Amazon.
“The fact matter is that you’ve been doing the bidding for a bunch of corporate special interests in D.C.,” Mowers said at that debate, “that you’re dating a corporate lobbyist.”
Pappas denied the allegation at the debate: “To go after me personally like this is really disgusting, Matt, and there’s no place for that on this debate stage.” After the debate, he clarified that he was, in fact, dating Bentley, but that he was angry at Mowers for “attacking my boyfriend.”
There was never an accusation that Pappas and Bentley’s relationship was illegal or violated House ethics rules. It’s also unclear if they were even dating at the time that Bentley was working as a lobbyist.
The LGBTQ Victory Fund called Mowers’s attack a “homophobic dog whistle,” arguing that Mowers only brought up the relationship right before the election to remind voters that Pappas is gay.
Pappas ended up winning the election with 51.3% of the vote.
On Twitter, Pappas’s supporters celebrated his engagement.
🏳️🌈Congratulations gentlemen on your engagement🏳️🌈 pic.twitter.com/2LAuLPFEBA
— bungalow3500 (John) (@bungalow3500) December 20, 2021
Congratulations!!! Many continued Blessings! We also said yes 12/10 pic.twitter.com/oRyWJ0L4hl
— Perez Maxwell (@p3000m) December 20, 2021
Congrats my friend!! Beaming for you two over this exciting and joyous news!💕
— Haley Stevens (@HaleyLive) December 20, 2021
Congratulations from a constituent in Dover!
— s (@myfavbluehoodie) December 20, 2021
Whoa! That's awesome! This constituent hopes you two have a very happy life ahead.
— Dakotah Thunder Wilson (@dthunderwilson) December 20, 2021
Congratulations Congressman Pappas and Vann, we are so happy for you. You have done so much for our state and we are so grateful.
— Mary Sullivan Heath (@marysullivanhea) December 20, 2021