A GOP Pennsylvania lawmaker said on Sunday that his fellow Republican, openly gay state Rep. Mike Fleck, should have stayed in the closet.
“A lot of people thought Mike was a homosexual,” state Sen. John H. Eichelberger Jr. told the Altoona Mirror newspaper about Fleck, as posted by the Raging Chicken Press blog. “If he had just gone about of his business and people thought he was a homosexual or heterosexual or whatever, there wouldn’t be a problem.”
Fleck ran for his seat in the Pennsylvania state house in 2006, but did not come out as gay until 2012.
Eichelberger said that people were fine with Fleck being gay, just not okay with him being open about it.
“A lot of people thought that Mike was a homosexual,” Eichelberger said, according to the Huffington Post. “He didn’t announce it and it was OK. The feeling from many people is, he put them in a very uncomfortable position.”
Now, Fleck faces a primary challenger in his bid for re-election to the state House. The ballots are still being counted, but write-in candidate Huntingdon County Treasurer Richard Irvin was about 300 votes ahead of Fleck on Friday, according to Penn Live.
In a Facebook post last week, Fleck told his supporters that he knew coming out would have an impact on his re-election bid.
“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,” he 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.”
Image via Mike Fleck on Facebook