An openly gay Pennsylvania lawmaker will likely lose his seat this week, just days after the state became the 19th to allow same-sex marriage.
Mike Fleck (R) was first elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 2006. In 2012, he came out as gay. According to one of his Republican colleagues, the move was a huge political mistake.
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 said that many people thought Fleck was gay prior to his coming out and weren't bothered by it.
"A lot of people thought that Mike was a homosexual," Eichelberger said. "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.
The blog Raging Chicken Press first pointed out the quote on Sunday.
In an earlier post on Facebook, Fleck said that he always knew coming out could affect 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. 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.
The final results of the election will likely be announced on Tuesday.