This past election, Eastern PA elected our first first openly gay candidate, Brian Sims, to the PA House. This weekend, we learned however, that current State Rep Mike Fleck (R) has come out. So that’s an interesting turn of events.
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.”
More of his testimonial from the Daily News is below.
Fleck, 39, has a resume that would impress Republicans anywhere. An Eagle Scout by age 18, he graduated from Liberty University in 1995 and worked professionally for the Boy Scouts of America as a district executive in Huntingdon County from 1999 to 2004. He was married in 2002.
In the legislature he’s been a moderate Republican; he was targeted by the conservative Citizens Alliance for Pennsylvania in 2011. However, aside a few votes in committees where Fleck doesn’t serve, there haven’t been significant votes on gay rights issues during his tenure.
He and his wife separated about a year ago; they do not have children.
I think this is good news, for both a fellow LGBTQ person who has taken a step to live more honestly and for Pennsylvania as a whole – the opportunity to get to know an openly gay man. It may also be another bridge for folks in the House to cross the aisle and get things done.
I don’t see the value of bashing him. His public comments reject gay conversion therapy which is good. It is yet to be seen how he’ll vote, but its not likely he’ll have much of an opportunity unless the sphecter of the “marriage protection” amendment resurfaces in a committee he’s assigned to next term. His stance on intrusion makes it unlikely he’ll support hate crimes legislation or even workplace protections against discrimination, but that might change as he experiences his own workplace as an openly gay man.
My stance is that we need moderate Republican allies – we as women, we as LGBTQ folks, we as Pennsylvania.
And congratulations, Representative Fleck.