Lawmaker Says Gay PA State Rep. Mike Fleck Should Have Stayed Closeted To Win Reelection
While Pennsylvania welcomed same-sex marriage just days ago, it appears that openly gay Republican Pennsylvania House Rep. Mike Fleck may lose his seat this week.
Huntingdon County Treasurer Richard Irvin held a 300 vote lead over Fleck last week after launching a write-in campaign for the 81st state House District seat, which Fleck has held since 2006. Fleck came out as gay in 2012.
The news that Fleck is potentially on his way out hasn't been softened by the rhetoric from Pennsylvania State Senator John H Eichelberger, Jr. who publicly claims that Fleck could have kept his seat if he'd stayed in the closet.
From The Huffington Post:
Pennsylvania State Senator John H. Eichelberger Jr. told the Altoona Mirror that "if [Fleck] had just gone about his business and people thought he was a homosexual or heterosexual or whatever, there wouldn't be a problem."
Eichelberger said that many people thought Fleck was gay prior to his coming out and weren't bothered by it.
"A lot of people thought that Mike was a homosexual," Eichelberger said. "He didn't announce it and it was OK. The feeling from many people is, he put them in a very uncomfortable position" by coming out.
If the voters of the 81st District are voting a politician out of office--whom they've voted for since 2006--because he's gay, that says far more about them than about Fleck.
Fleck posted on Facebook:
I am gay. I don’t wear it on my sleeve, it doesn’t define who I am, and quite frankly it’s the least interesting part about me. Nevertheless, I knew that when I came out this race would be nothing more, nothing less than whether my constituency could wrap their mind around the fact that I was a gay man. People fear that which is different. Kids (and too many adults) bully anyone who is different. Too many people have preconceived notions about what a gay man or woman looks like. I wanted to challenge that, but more importantly I wanted to be honest and free of the secrecy that had bound me for too long. I knew back then, as I do now that my political fate was out of my hands. I would continue to do what I have always done, and that was to represent my district to the best of my ability. I briefly pondered if I would run again. I never wanted to be a career politician, however, I love my job. Plus, I didn’t want to give anyone a pass, nor did I want to simply walk away and always wonder if I would have been reelected. And guess what we still don’t know.
We'll most likely know by Tuesday. What do you think of Eichelberger's comments? Would Fleck have had a better chance of being reelected if he'd stayed in the closet?