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Gay former lawmaker nominated for Labor Dept. post

Michaud sought to become first openly gay person elected governor



Mike Michaud, Democratic Party, Maine, gay news, Washington Blade, Michelle Obama
Mike Michaud, Maine, United States House of Representatives, Democratic Party, U.S. Congress, gay news, Washington Blade

Mike Michaud was nominated for a position in the Labor Department. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Retirement as a lawmaker and the loss of gubernatorial race isn’t keeping from public service a Maine politician who sought to be the first openly gay man elected as governor.

On Thursday, President Obama announced he nominated Michael Michaud as assistant secretary of labor for veterans’ employment and training. His nomination is subject to Senate confirmation.

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Veterans’ Employment & Training seeks to direct Labor Department services to veterans at the policy-making level, including job training counseling and employment placement.

In 2014, Michaud was the Democratic nominee in the gubernatorial race in Maine and, had he won, would have been the first openly gay person elected as governor. (He wouldn’t have been the first openly gay governor. That distinction belongs to former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey, who came out as gay in 2004 shortly before resigning.)

Ultimately, Michaud lost in the three-way race along with Independent candidate Eliot Cutler to incumbent Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who’s been dubbed the craziest governor in the country.

Michaud ran for office during his final term as a six-term representative representing Maine’s 2nd congressional district in the U.S. House. The lawmaker came out as gay in 2013 shortly before he undertook his bid for the governor’s mansion in his state.

The nominee is no stranger to work on veterans’ affairs. In 2012, the House Democratic Caucus designated him to serve as ranking member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

Obama nominated Michaud to the position as part of a group of three nominees for key administration posts on the same day.

“These fine public servants bring a depth of experience and tremendous dedication to their important roles,” Obama said. “I look forward to working with them.”


Federal Government

EXCLUSIVE: Robert Garcia urges US officials to protect LGBTQ people during Pride Month

Gay Calif. congressman sent letter to top authorities on June 12



Participants of the Capital Pride Festival in D.C. on June 8, 2024. Gay U.S. Congressman Robert Garcia (D-Calif.) has urged U.S. officials to ensure LGBTQ people are safe during Pride Month. (Washington Blade photo by Emily Hanna)

U.S. Rep. Robert Garcia (D-Calif.) on June 12 sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray to work to ensure LGBTQ people during Pride events.

“Over the last several weeks, your respective agencies and departments have issued stark warnings, and travel advisories to the public over potential threats from foreign terrorist organizations (FTO), and their supporters during this year’s Pride Month,” said Garcia in his letter. “I understand that these steps have come after deeply concerning increases in anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric, calls for targeted violence, and foiled violent plots.”

The FBI on May 10 issued an advisory that warned of potential violence at Pride events and other LGBTQ-specific events. The State Department on May 17 — the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia — announced a similar warning.

“Ensuring that people can peacefully and safely celebrate Pride and the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community is of utmost importance,” wrote Garcia, a gay man who represents California’s 42nd Congressional District that includes Long Beach.

June 12 also marked eight years since a gunman killed 49 people inside the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla.

The massacre at the time was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. The gunman pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State, even though there is no evidence that suggests the extremist group ordered him to carry out the massacre. 

“This week marks the eight (sp) anniversary of the horrific Pulse nightclub Orlando shooting — during which the attacker deliberately and viciously targeted the LGBTQ+ community,” wrote Garcia in his letter. “It is important to put the recent escalation of extremist anti-LGBTQ+ propaganda and messaging in the context the Pulse nightclub shooter who was influenced by these same forces of extremism.”

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Carlton R. Smith: LGBTQ advocate, ‘mayor’ of Mount Vernon, passes away

‘The Duchess’ died on May 29 in his sleep



Carlton R. Smith, an LGBTQ advocate, died May 29. He was 61. (Photo courtesy of Carlton R. Smith)

BY JOHN-JOHN WILLIAMS IV | Carlton R. Smith was affectionately called “The Duchess” in a nod to royalty, because of his unofficial role of mayor of Baltimore’s Mount Vernon neighborhood. He was a “walking billboard” for Calvin Klein, with a love for purple, Batman, cooking, house music, Prince, and Diana Ross.

“If you said Duchess, you knew who that was,” said his close friend of 25-years, Carrietta Hiers.

The rest of this article can be found on the Baltimore Banner’s website.

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Thailand marriage equality bill receives final approval

Country third jurisdiction in Asia to allow same-sex marriages



(Public domain photo)

The Thai Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a bill that will extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.

The measure passed by a 152-130 vote margin with four senators voting against it and 18 abstaining. The Thai House of Representatives in April approved the marriage equality bill, with 400 of 415 lawmakers who participated in the vote backing it.

Taiwan and Nepal are the two other Asian jurisdictions that allow same-sex couples to legally marry.

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