Pennsylvanian state representative Mike Fleck (R-Huntingdon) came out on Saturday, but sadly seems in blissful denial about the GOP’s aggressive government overreach.
Fleck, who describes himself as a devout conservative Christian, spoke for the first time about his sexuality to the Huntingdon Daily News, saying when he married his wife he wanted to live the life he thought his religion demanded of him.
“I wanted to live a ‘normal’ life and raise a family,” Fleck is quoted as saying. “I also believed that by marrying, I was fulfilling God’s will and I thought my same-sex attraction would simply go away.”
It didn’t, and before he separated from his wife last year, he sought help from a number of Christian counselors. Says the article:
“I sought out treatment from a Christian counselor, but when that didn’t work out, I engaged a secular therapist who told me point blank that I was gay and that I was too caught up in being the perfect Christian rather than actually being authentic and honest,” Fleck said.
On ex-gay therapy, Fleck manages to be truthful over its complete lack of efficacy and its potential harms, saying:
“Through years of counseling, I’ve met a lot of gay Christians who have tried hard to change their God-given sexual orientation, but at the end of the day, I know of none who’ve been successful,” he said. “They’ve only succeeded at repressing their identity, only to have it reappear time and time again and always wreaking havoc not only on themselves, but especially on their family.”
This announcement makes Rep. Fleck one of just two openly gay Republican state legislators, along with Ohio state Representative Tim Brown. He joins Democrat Brian Sims as Pennsylvania’s only openly gay House lawmakers.
However, Fleck said his new openness about his sexuality will not change how he votes or his party affiliation:
“The Republican party is all about the government needing to stay out of people’s lives. I’m not a one-issue person and it’s not a one-issue party.”
The denial of reality here is impressive. Fleck cannot seriously contend that the GOP is really the party of small government anymore. True, they continue to wave that relic of a banner whenever the issue of tax or social security comes up. But the very issue of gay rights proves the notion false when one considers that being anti-gay is not just a credential for being a Republican presidential nominee, but also part of the Republican party platform.
Furthermore, while the party is undeniably packed with anti-gay voices, many like Michele Bachmann who not only contends that being gay is a demonic choice but who is also an advocate of conversion therapy, the party’s intrusion isn’t limited to just anti-LGBT stances. The Republicans are the party who drove a ridiculously intrusive fetal heartbeat abortion bill in the state. They’ve also been accused of deliberately attempting to intimidate African American voters.
While Fleck’s coming out is admirable, his avoidance of reality negates an important point: if it weren’t for the institutionalized homophobia of the Republican party, Fleck might never have fallen prey to the notion that he needed to live a lie in the first place, or at least not continued to do so for quite so very long.
Image credit: Thinkstock.
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