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2013

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Maine Congressman Mike Michaud Comes Out

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud of Maine speaks at the International LGBTQ Leaders Conference in Denver in December 2013.
U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud of Maine speaks at the International LGBTQ Leaders Conference in Denver in December 2013.

Before running for office, Rep. Michaud started working at a paper mill after high school, where he continued working until his election to Maine’s state legislature, and later, the U.S. Congress. Before Michaud came out, he co-sponsored legislation to enact hate crimes protections, fund HIV/AIDS programs, repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and protect LGBTQ Americans from discrimination. He was also a cosponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act that would abolish the Defense of Marriage Act.

As Michaud launched his campaign for governor of Maine in 2013, a whisper campaign began. Michaud addressed the rumors head on in November 2013, coming out in an op-ed titled: “Yes, I am gay. ‘But why should it matter?”. He then embarked on a media campaign allowing him to live out and proud. As Michaud told a Victory Fund staffer during a 2014 interview:

“I think the most touching [story after coming out] was when I was talking to a business owner in central Maine. He came up to me and wanted to talk to me when I finished my lunch. When I did, he came over with tears in his eyes. He told me his son came out to him five months ago, and he is only 15 years old. The reason his son came out was because he thought something was wrong with him. When I came out it really made a big difference in that young man’s life.”

While Michaud lost his race for governor, the impact of his courage lived on.

Delaware Senator Comes Out During Marriage Debate

Senator Karen Peterson and wife Vikki Bandy, Delaware's first same sex couple to have civil union converted to marriage. Courtesy of Delaware Public Media.
Senator Karen Peterson and wife Vikki Bandy, Delaware's first same sex couple to have civil union converted to marriage. Courtesy of Delaware Public Media.

In 2013, the Delaware state Senate was in the midst of an intense legislative debate: should the state become the 11th in the nation to approve marriage equality? One senator stood up to give her answer – a resounding yes – and the reason for her support: she was a lesbian. Drawing on her lived experiences, including her relationship with her longtime partner of 24 years, Peterson announced from the podium, “No one chose to be gay. We are what God made us. We don't need to be fixed. We aren't broken.”

Her announcement was met by applause – and when the bill later passed, Peterson and her partner were the first couple to be married. She was the first out LGBTQ person to serve in the Delaware state legislature. Peterson retired from the Delaware Senate in 2017. 

Illinois Enacts Marriage Equality

Rep. Greg Harris speaks at Victory Fund's Chicago Brunch in 2013.
Rep. Greg Harris speaks at Victory Fund's Chicago Brunch in 2013.

Winning marriage equality in Illinois required more arm-twists and plot twists than a mega-drama soap opera. Victory Fund candidate Illinois House Rep. Greg Harris first introduced a civil unions bill in 2007. Harris also first introduced the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Bill on February 22 of the same year. The bill suffered a slew of failures and fierce opposition from the anti-LGBTQ Illinois Family Institute and the Catholic Conference of Illinois, with Cardinal Francis George of Chicago issuing a letter decrying the bill that was put in every parish bulletin. But Harris also had his own team of adamantly aggressive supporters including President Barack Obama, who was following the drama in his home state.

On November 5, 2013, when it finally passed, Obama tweeted: “This is huge . . . the Illinois House just passed marriage equality.” That was followed by a statement that read, in part: “Michelle and I are overjoyed for all the committed couples in Illinois whose love will now be as legal as ours—and for their friends and family who have long wanted nothing more than to see their loved ones treated fairly and equally under the law.” 

LGBTQ Victory Fund Endorsed Candidates in 2013

LGBTQ Victory Fund endorsed 78 candidates in 2013.

Wins

Adam Carranza, School Board, California

Alex Morse, Mayor, Holyoke, Massachusetts

Alex Wan, City Council, Atlanta, District 6, Georgia

Annise Parker, Mayor, Texas

Barbara Baier, Lincoln School Board, Seat 3, Nebraska

Benjamin Allatt, City Council, Pennsylvania

Carlos Menchaca, City Council, New York, District 38, New York

Carol Becker, Board of Estimate and Taxation, Minnesota

Chris Seelbach, City Council, Ohio

Christopher Anderson, City Council , Tennessee

Corey Johnson, City Council, New York

Dan Manning, City Council, Wisconsin

Daniel Dromm, City Council, New York

Darden Rice, City Council, St. Petersburg, District 4, Florida

Dave Kaplan, City Council, Washington

David Upthegrove, County Council, King County, District 5, Washington

Edward Murrary, Mayor, Washington

Gregg Rabb, City Council, New York

James Van Bramer, City Council, New York

Jay Fisette, County Board, Arlington, Virginia

Jeffrey Prang, City Council, California

Jim Ireton, Mayor, Maryland

Joel Burns, City Council, Texas

John Duran, City Council, California

Jose Cisneros, Treasurer, California

Jossie Valentin, Holyoke City Council Ward 4, Massachusetts

Judd Krasher, Common Council, Albany, Ward 11, New York

Karin Uhlich, City Council, Arizona

Kathy Herrera, Tompkins County Legislature- 5, New York

Kyle Bailey, School Committee, At-Large, Gorham, Maine

Larry Palm, Board of Alders, Madison, District 12, Wisconsin

Lawana Mayfield, City Council, Charlotte, District 3, North Carolina

Lawrence Webb, School Board, Falls Church, Virginia

Lori Schreiber, Township Commission, Abington, Ward 14, Pennsylvania

Marcia White, City Council, Ogden, At-Large, Seat A, Utah

Mark Kleinschmidt, Mayor, North Carolina

Mark  Tendam, City Council , Illinois

Matt Haag, City Council, New York

Michael Laster, City Council, Texas

Mike Bonin, City Council, California

Mitch  O'Farrell, City Council, California

Nick  Kachiroubas, Crystal Lake, Illinois

Patrick Wojahn, College Park City Council, Dist 1, Maryland

Reed Gusciora, State Assembly, New Jersey

Rhonda Lanford, Circuit Court, Dane County, Branch 16, Wisconsin

Richie  Torres, City Council, New York

Ron Galperin, City Controller, California

Rosaura Mendez, City Council, New York

Shane Cohn, City Board of Aldermen, Missouri

Stan Penfold, City Council, Salt Lake City, District 3, Utah

Teege Mettille, City Council, Wisconsin

Thomas Peters, School Board, Missouri

Losses

Anthony Brown, City Council, At-Large, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Brian Bates, Doraville City Council, District 2, Georgia

Bryan Tate, State House of Representatives, District 95, Pennsylvania

Carl Sciortino, Congress, Massachusetts

Christine Quinn, Mayor, New York

Daniel Miller, Mayor, Pennsylvania

David Vela, Board of Trustees, California

Donald Bourque, Board of Selectmen, Massachusetts

Dori Dean, Holyoke, Massachusetts

Dwayne Crenshaw, City Council, California

Ed  Zipprich, State Assembly, New Jersey

Ernie Schlegel, City Council, Reading, District 5, Pennsylvania

Francena Amparo, County Legislator , New York

Gary Schiff, Mayor, Minnesota

Jeff Gardner, Hawthorne, New Jersey

Jeff Ross, City Council, Boston, At-Large, Massachusetts

Lawrence Robinson, City Council, Arizona

Lizbeth DeSelm, School Committee, Melrose, Massachusetts

Mel Wymore, City Council, New York

Michael Gongora, Mayor, Miami Beach, Florida

Mimi DeSouza, Borough Council, Norristown, District 1, Pennsylvania

Robert Lilligren, City Council, Minnesota

Scott Criqui, City Commission, Kansas

Tim Eustace, State Assembly, New Jersey

Tracy Hall, City Commission of Kalamazoo, Michigan

Turner Bitton, City Council, Ogden City, Utah

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