Pa. Lawmaker: Gay State Rep. Shouldn’t Have Come Out
A Republican Pennsylvania state senator says Rep. Mike Fleck (R) will likely lose his seat this week in the state’s House of Representatives because he came out as gay in 2012, the Huffington Post reports.
Fleck was first elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 2006 but made headlines in 2012 when he came out of the closet.
Now, 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 added that many people thought Fleck was gay before he made his announcement and they weren’t bothered by it.
"A lot of people thought that Mike was a homosexual," Eichelberger told the mewsaper. "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.
Fleck took to Facebook, writing that he knew coming out could hurt his political career.
"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," Fleck wrote. "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."
Though it’s not totally confirmed, Politics PA reports that it appears as though Fleck lost the election, but there still may be hope for him after all:
"Fleck did lose the GOP nomination to write-in challenger Rich Irvin. Yet, in an unexpected twist, Fleck won the Democratic nomination by receiving more of those write-in votes than Irvin. According to the unofficial totals, Irvin was the recipient of 3,600 write-in votes in the GOP primary while Fleck picked up 3,396. In the Democratic primary, though, Fleck outpaced Irvin by a 901 to 886 margin in the write-in votes."
Fleck wrote about the outcome on his Facebook:
Rep. Mike Fleck (D) Three Springs. How’s that for an oxymoron.
Thank you to the 15 democrats who put me over the top on the democratic write-in, with a final tally of 901-886.
And thank you to the three thousand plus republicans who voted based on my job performance. While a lot can still happen legally, today is a new day and if we are ultimately successful in our bid to continue thru the fall, rest assured, I will give it my all.