Gay Rights Group Backs Michaud in Maine’s Gov’s Race
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.
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.