Va. Del Comes Out, Will Face Gay Sen. For Congressional Seat
With a public announcement in a Washington Post opinion column on Friday Virginia Delegate Mark D. Sickles announced that he is gay.
In that op-ed, the Fairfax legislator spoke about that state's battle with marriage equality, saying that "The centuries-old walls of discrimination are crumbling brick by brick as state legislatures, courts and the American people are accepting their LGBT brothers and sisters, with increasing speed and understanding, for exactly who they are."
He also spoke of "ignorant and cruel words" spoken by his fellow legislators about the dangers of the 'gay lifestyle' and their suggestions that members of the LGBT community were not fit to raise children.
"Hearing such caustic remarks yet again on the House floor, coupled with the overturning of our same-sex marriage ban, has motivated me to state publicly here what many close friends and family have known for decades: I am a proud, gay man," Sickles wrote in the Post.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that the Democrat -- now only the second openly gay member of the state legislature -- would be pitted against the state's other openly gay legislator, state Sen. Adam Ebbin of Alexandra, for the Northern Virginia Congressional seat being vacated by retired Rep. Jim Moran, D-8th.
Sickles, who is chair of the House Democratic Caucus, faces a crowded field for the Democratic nomination for Moran's seat. The Times-Dispatch reports that also vying for the post are former Lt. Gov. Donald S. Beyer Jr.; Dels. Charniele L. Herring, D-Alexandria; Patrick A. Hope, D-Arlington; and Alfonso H. Lopez, D-Arlington; Alexandria Mayor William B. Euille; former Northern Virginia Urban League CEO Lavern Chatman; Derek Hyra, a member of the Alexandria Planning Commission and an associate professor of urban affairs at Virginia Tech; Mark Levine, a nationally syndicated radio host and former legislative counsel to then Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts; and Bruce Shuttleworth, a former Navy fighter pilot who took on Moran in a 2012 primary.