The internet went into an absolute frenzy on Monday when word got out that an openly gay marine named Neil Rafferty had made the decision to run for congressman in Alabama. If Rafferty wins, he will be the first ever openly gay congressman to have served the state ofAlabama, which is awesome beyond any sort of verbiage at this point.
He is running for a seat in Alabama State House District 54, which is currently vacated. The best part about this is that the person who held the seat before him was an out and proud lesbian! Democrat Patricia Todd was the state's first openly gay legislator, so could history repeat itself twice?
Here's what we know about Rafferty so far (more of an exclusive with him next week). He is partnered to a wonderful man named Michael Rudulph, who was the reason Rafferty became a marine in the first place (more on their love story here). They have been together for 14 years, or in gay years… 415.
They had to spend years under the pressure and issues that DADT (Don't Ask, Don't Tell) brought on them, but once the repeal happened, it got much easier for them to be authentically with one another. "That was the moment I believe our relationship truly began," Rudulph told NewNowNext last year.
Outside of serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, Rafferty was a project director at Birmingham AIDS Outreach in his home state of Alabama. Their mission, like many other outreach programs, is to To provide financial, emotional, and home health support to individuals with HIV and AIDS and to provide educational information to the community with the goal of reducing the spread of AIDS.
And by the looks of it, they have a really cute dog as well. Now that he has decided to run, it will be interesting to see how he approaches the issues that Alabamans face on a daily basis and how he will (hopefully) be elected not because of his sexuality, but because he is the right person for the job.