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Republican Pennsylvania legislator comes out

A Republican becomes the first first openly gay state representative in the KeyStone State:

State Rep. Mike Fleck (R-Huntingdon) publicly acknowledged Saturday that he is gay, making him the first openly gay lawmaker in Pa. and the only* currently sitting openly gay Republican state legislator in the entire country.

. . . .

“Coming out is hard enough, but doing it in the public eye is definitely something I never anticipated,” he said. “I’m still the exact same person and I’m still a Republican and, most importantly, I’m still a person of faith trying to live life as a servant of God and the public. The only difference now is that I will also be doing so as honestly as I know how.”

He said his party affiliation remains strong.

“The Republican party is all about the government needing to stay out of people’s lives,” Fleck said. “I’m not a one-issue person and it’s not a one-issue party.”

Well said, Representative Fleck. Wish more people understood this about gay Republicans. Our political calculus doesn’t revolve around our sexuality nor does the agenda of our party.

Folks at the Advocate would be wise to learn from this gay elected official — and to watch how his party receives him.



  1. He will also be divorcing his wife Angela…

    Comment by V the K — December 1, 2012 @ 6:38 pm - December 1, 2012

  2. From Wiki:

    Brian Sims, a Philadelphia Democrat elected in 2012, is the first openly gay man ELECTED to the legislature but will not take office until January 2013

    Comment by Vince Smetana — December 1, 2012 @ 6:56 pm - December 1, 2012

  3. The left will now start heaping hate on him just as they do anyone of any group that belongs on the democrat plantation.

    Comment by Richard Bell — December 1, 2012 @ 6:58 pm - December 1, 2012

  4. “and to watch how his party receives him.”

    I hope GP continues to report on this element. I imagine it will, considering the potential for wisdom in learning.

    Comment by Vince Smetana — December 1, 2012 @ 7:06 pm - December 1, 2012

  5. RE: 3

    The majority of comments at Towleroad have not been heaping hate on him, actually. Quite the opposite. Perhaps you can clarify your remarks about “the left” and “heaping hate.”

    Comment by Vince Smetana — December 1, 2012 @ 7:08 pm - December 1, 2012

  6. “Dear President Clinton, What a year you’ve had, the kind that really burnishes a legend. At the Democratic National Convention, on the campaign trail, in speeches aplenty and during interviews galore, you spoke eloquently about what this country should value, and you spoke unequivocally about where it should head. Such a bounty of convictions, such a harvest of words, except for one that’s long overdue: Sorry.

    “Where’s your apology for signing the Defense of Marriage Act? And why, amid all the battles you’ve joined, and with all the energy you’ve been able to muster, haven’t you made a more vigorous case for same-sex marriage, especially in light of your history on this issue? You fret about your legacy, as any president would. For turning a blind eye to the butchery in Rwanda, you struggled through a mea culpa of sorts, and after Barack Obama seemed to lavish higher praise on Ronald Reagan than on you, you seethed.

    “Well, DOMA, which says that the federal government recognizes only marriages of a man and a woman, is one of the uglier blemishes on your record, an act of indisputable discrimination that codified unequal treatment of gay men and lesbians and, in doing so, validated the views of Americans who see us as lesser people. If our most committed, heartfelt relationships don’t measure up, then neither do we. If how we love is suspect, then so is who we are. No two ways to interpret that. No other conclusion to be drawn.” – Frank Bruni, writing for the New York Times.

    Comment by rusty — December 1, 2012 @ 10:04 pm - December 1, 2012

  7. Nathan Lauver on December 1, 2012 at 12:02 pm said:
    I’ve known Mike for years, both as a Scouter and a constituent, and I am proud to be the friend of a man with such courage. We could surely use more of that in our elected leadership at all levels.

    Comment by rusty — December 1, 2012 @ 10:10 pm - December 1, 2012

  8. Perhaps you can clarify your remarks about “the left” and “heaping hate.”

    Read the Advocate piece. DUH!

    Comment by TGC — December 1, 2012 @ 11:55 pm - December 1, 2012

  9. RE: 8

    Richard Bell: “The left will now start heaping hate on him just as they do anyone of any group that belongs on the democrat plantation.”

    Translation: “They will hear this soon and then begin to conduct themselves in the following behavior”: “heaping hate.”

    Me: “The majority of comments at Towleroad have not been heaping hate on him, actually. Quite the opposite.”

    Translation: The Left Gays at Towleroad read this today and DID NOT start “heaping hate on him.”

    Me: “Perhaps you can clarify your remarks about “the left” and “heaping hate.”

    Translation: You were wrong.

    Comment by Vince Smetana — December 2, 2012 @ 12:20 am - December 2, 2012

  10. Additionally, the Advocate has nothing to do with the Rep who just came out. The article was published before it happened. Richard Bell was theorizing what would happen and he was wrong.

    Comment by Vince Smetana — December 2, 2012 @ 12:27 am - December 2, 2012

  11. This honesty has shown how far Pennsylvania has come. To have a public figure like Mike Fleck come out as gay proves that a person’s sexuality does not affect their ability to get a job done. Fleck was applauded by gay rights groups and legislative Democrats for his decision to come out.

    Comment by rusty — December 2, 2012 @ 3:51 am - December 2, 2012

  12. Good for him. I, for one, would vote for him.

    Comment by BigGator5 — December 2, 2012 @ 12:14 pm - December 2, 2012

  13. I really don’t see where coming out is an act of courage these days. Maybe 20 years ago, but now… meh.

    Comment by V the K — December 2, 2012 @ 12:17 pm - December 2, 2012

  14. Maybe Pennsylvanian gays on the left applaude him. But as for gays in the rest of the nation many will send hate mail and insults. I hope he´ll be ready. There is not much difference between gay and black liberals. It was outrageous what they sent to Mayor Mia Love, after her appearance at the Republican National Convention.

    It was nice to see Rick Grennell, last night, on Justice With Judge Jeanine Pirro, giving his reasons why Susan Rice is not qualified to be Secretary of State.

    Comment by Roberto — December 2, 2012 @ 3:49 pm - December 2, 2012

  15. The hate will flow the second he steps out of line with left-wing orthodoxy by opposing a tax increase or failing to shout “Sieg Heil” when Obama walks by.

    Comment by V the K — December 2, 2012 @ 5:11 pm - December 2, 2012

  16. I lived in central PA (State College) in the mid 1980s, and while it is not quite as socially conservative as 30 years ago, I think Fleck will have difficulty winning a GOP primary in 2014. The population around there is quite old; they dislike drinking, which is why so many dry areas occur in rural PA. It is like the Deep South with a PA accent.

    Comment by davinci — December 2, 2012 @ 6:33 pm - December 2, 2012

  17. Translation: You were wrong.

    Huh. I looked at the Advocate article about Fleck coming out and read comments about how he’s an Uncle Tom and that gay Republicans must’ve suffered brain damage. At Advocate and HuffingtonPlagiarism, there’s plenty of comments exemplifying the Christophobia of gay liberals. Little Kreepy’s comments at Towleroad are a good example.

    JamesFromCambridge, over at Gawker, says:

    The conservative movement is littered with psychotic gays. The conservative movement is littered with psychotics period, but for some reason, the most noxious people in the movement always turn out to be gay.

    David Ehrenstein, over at Salon, says:

    Gay Republicans = Jews for Hitler.

    So would you mind telling me who was wrong? And could you do it without your horse’s ass “translation” crap? Cheers.

    Comment by TGC — December 2, 2012 @ 11:14 pm - December 2, 2012

  18. Kudos to Rep Fleck!

    The true test for him will be when he has to run again. Its a rare things for a gay republican to get through their primary.
    Heres hoping the folks in his district are open minded enough to realize his orientation does not effect his job performance.

    Comment by mike — December 2, 2012 @ 11:55 pm - December 2, 2012

  19. Um, Richard bell said the left will heap hate on “him.” I’m sick of translating for you TGC. I read the towleroad comments about “him”.

    Take a reading class.

    Comment by Vince Smetana — December 3, 2012 @ 2:06 am - December 3, 2012

  20. Did someone say “left-wing hate”?? Yeah, we’ve got that (from the original source no less):

    Antoney Look on December 1, 2012 at 12:24 pm said:

    America and especially those whose are discriminated and whose civil rights are assaulted through bigotry, money and legislation; does not need another half hearted spineless sway with the wing lock step politician. Nothing could be further from the truth about his statement that “The Republican party is all about the government needing to stay out of people’s lives”. To add injury to insult, Rep. Fleck giving himself a pass, an excuse for his weaknesses by stating “I’m not a one-issue person and it’s not a one-issue party”. This only serves to illustrate how he is justifying his cowardice. Coming out to feel better about yourself is one thing, however; being a Representative means you stand for your convictions and fight for change against injustice, especially those you recognize, understand and have experienced.

    Then there’s this from a very tolerant (not to mention clairvoyant) person from the largest city in the Lone Star State:

    David in Houston on December 1, 2012 at 12:40 pm said:

    “The Republican party is all about the government needing to stay out of people’s lives.”

    Sorry, Mr. Fleck. But that is a flat-out lie, and you know it. If the Republican party didn’t exist, gay Americans would have all of their constitutionally guaranteed civil rights in all 50 states. The GOP has systematically disenfranchised minority voters (during the last election), unrelentingly passed laws to control women’s bodies, and demonized gay people by claiming they were a threat to opposite-sex marriage. The fact you don’t intend to change your voting pattern speaks volumes about you and your party. At least I can take solace in the fact that when you vote to discriminate against gay citizens (and you know you will), you’ll now be harming your own life too.

    But wait! There’s more:

    Louis on December 1, 2012 at 1:12 pm said:

    This wasn’t brave. What will be brave is standing up to his party bosses and christianists who insist on destroying the lives and families of gay people. We’ll see if he can do that.

    And there’s always a backhanded complimenter in the bunch:

    Jeff DF on December 1, 2012 at 2:51 pm said:

    Coming out at 39 must feel liberating for Rep. Fleck, and while I’m sorry he was so indoctrinated by his homophobic religion that he had to get married on his way to figuring himself out, I guess he should be commended. As a 46-year old who came out at 17, it’s hard not to jeer Fleck for supporting a GOP that publicly despises gay people and has acted legislatively for decades to ensure LGBT folks were denied equality–let alone basic human dignity. Fleck’s statement that “the Republican party is all about the government needing to stay out of people’s lives,” is laughable on it’s face. The GOP of the last half century is a gaggle of “do as I say and not as I do” hypocrites. When Fleck find himself finally in a position to vote on LGBT issues, he’s in for a rude awakening.

    Not to mention a self-appointed parlimentarian and decorum advocate who couldn’t wait for Miss Manners or Dear Prudence to weigh in first:

    Jimmy James on December 1, 2012 at 3:32 pm said:

    Good for him. But this doesn’t seem like the classiest move. Allowing someone else to do all the work of making an openly gay person able to serve in the legislature (Rep. Brian Sims) and then swooping in and stealing all his thunder reeks of opportunism and some cowardice. After the election, before Rep. Sims is sworn in… way to hedge your bets then take advantage….

    But welcome to the LGBT community, Rep. Fleck. Hopefully you’ll begin to support equality and bring your crazy party on board.

    Now before our resident Solomons start splitting hairs about how exactly this consitutes “hate”, imagine what the reaction would be if Representative Fleck were a Democrat. The seal-clapping would be so loud (undoubtedly from people like Antoney, David, Louis, Jeff, and Jimmy) that it would be hard to hear anythng else.

    And in case those Solomons and Polyannas need another example, here it is:

    George Grayson on December 1, 2012 at 3:44 pm said:

    I am sorry, but this pisses me off. I don’t understand gay and republican anymore that I would understand black and a member of the KKK. They are inherently incompatible. You can believe in whatever ideals you want, but to belong to a party that actively works to take away your rights, and the rights of the group of which you are a part is an insult to people who actually give a damn and work to promote change. I am tired of gay closeted republicans in general, but especially tired of those who are screwing everyone over under the guise of you can be both. In my opinion, you are still not being honest.

    To call this man brave is ridiculous. He is spineless and still choosing to deny the reality of the party he claims to be a part of.

    All this ‘love’ from the tolerant left! (And all without even having Representative Fleck vote on any LGBTQXYZ legislation.)

    Fortunately, there was a call-out on some of the love:

    Aaron on December 2, 2012 at 3:51 am said:

    Rep. Fleck will quickly discover (also clearly illustrated in the comments here) that his fellow Republicans are surprisingly supportive and tolerant. Many angry gays on the other hand don’t have the same open mind toward the GOP.

    Angry left-wing gays: times are changing. You don’t need to hate Republicans as much as you’ve become used to. The gay community is broad, diverse and mature. We don’t need your enforced conformity on political ideology.

    And it took seven hours before a sneering smackdown happened (not original enough to merit reposting, though). Apparently there was Sunday brunch or something to attend to first.

    Comment by RSG — December 3, 2012 @ 5:06 am - December 3, 2012

  21. 13. I really don’t see where coming out is an act of courage these days. Maybe 20 years ago, but now… meh.

    I dunno; I think it depends on where you’re at (geographically and otherwise). In NoVA, probably not so much. But in more rural and conservative parts of the country, definitely.

    There’s a Republican representative in my state legislature who seems to have had a similar epiphany as Representative Fleck in the past few years; and, as an early-thirtysomething single male who gained national attention in the past for his opposition to antigay marriage bills plus his sponsorship of antidiscrimination measures, I’d say he’s already pretty much a marked man. But publically coming out would be another thing altogether. The only reason he was unopposed for re-election in 2012 was because the self-proclaimed “RINO hunters” (really, that’s how they refer to themselves) in the county Republican party couldn’t find anyone in his district to run against him.

    Then, there’s this [again, from the orginal source]:

    Jack on December 2, 2012 at 6:20 pm said:

    I agree with Billie, I’m extended family and as I read the many comments made above, they say he has courage and guts. Did he try Hormone injections or shock therapy, probably not, they really work. If he really had courage, he would have come-out before the election; I voted for him and I feel deceived. I’m sure he didn’t want to loose [sic] his $85,000 dollar a year [sic]start his new life as a gay blade. He should forfeit the election and the Governor appoint straight representative from the county, we have many of them here. Many are Veterans, they will need work and have already contributed a lot.

    I mean, wow. If I had that much nuttiness and ignorance in my extended family (assuming it actually is his family) it would take more than courage to come out; I’d want a security detail and a public relations team to boot.

    Comment by RSG — December 3, 2012 @ 5:41 am - December 3, 2012

  22. Also note “heaps of hate” not “infrequent random person.”

    Comment by Vince Smetana — December 3, 2012 @ 11:13 am - December 3, 2012

  23. Well said, Representative Fleck. Wish more people understood this about gay Republicans. Our political calculus doesn’t revolve around our sexuality nor does the agenda of our party.

    Bullshit. Republicans have been using sexuality as a wedge issue for years. I’m sorry, but you don’t get to cater to constituencies like the religious right and social conservatives and then flatly state that your agenda doesn’t revolve around sexuality.

    Comment by Levi — December 3, 2012 @ 12:11 pm - December 3, 2012

  24. *yawn* More lies from Levi.

    Comment by The_Livewire — December 3, 2012 @ 12:15 pm - December 3, 2012

  25. Well, Livewire 1. It’s not like Levi *can* tell the truth and 2. It’s not like we don’t all know he’s just a cultist follower of Glorious Leader.

    It’s not really, “Hush, Levi, adults are talking,” it’s more like, “Levi, why don’t take your chanting and flowers to the airport, or maybe check into the clinic for an E-meter auditing? Your Thetan levels seem high, or low, I forget which one makes you cranky. “

    Comment by V the K — December 3, 2012 @ 12:35 pm - December 3, 2012

  26. Mary Cheney and Heather Poe Get Married via GOProud
    Congratulations to Mary Cheney and Heather Poe on their recent wedding! The Daily Caller has the exclusive story about former Vice President Cheney’s daughter and her long time partner.
    in a statement provided to TheDC, both the former vice president and his wife, Lynne, said they are “delighted” the couple could have their “relationship recognized.”
    LaSalvia of the conservative GOProud organization celebrated the news on Friday, telling TheDC, “Mary and Heather have had a tremendous impact on the way America views gay people.”
    “Simply by living their lives openly, honestly, and as authentic conservatives, they have done more to change hearts and minds in this country than any gay advocacy group,” he said. “This is one more way that they are demonstrating that gay Americans are just like everyone else. Good for them.”

    Comment by rusty — December 3, 2012 @ 12:58 pm - December 3, 2012

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