As a longtime advocate for the rights of gay and lesbian Mainers, I am very disappointed to see EqualityMaine’s endorsement of U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud for governor.

In 1984, I remember hearing the news about Charlie Howard, a young gay man in Bangor who was thrown off a bridge in a horrific hate crime, and feeling horrified that this could happen to any one of my friends or family members. This happened one year after then-state Rep. Mike Michaud voted twice to exclude sexual orientation from the Maine Human Rights Act.

As a state representative, Michaud would go on to vote 14 times against including sexual orientation in the Maine Human Rights Act. And in 1997, as state Sen. Mike Michaud, he voted twice against including sexual orientation in the Maine Human Rights Act.

While I applaud U.S. Rep. Michaud for finally coming around to support common fairness for his fellow Mainers, I am deeply disappointed that EqualityMaine has chosen not to support an ardent and lifelong supporter of fairness for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Mainers.

Eliot Cutler has not only been steadfast in his support for equality, but has invested time, talent and energy into securing full LGBT equality. There is only one candidate in the race who has never wavered in his support for gay and lesbian Mainers. There is only one candidate with a comprehensive vision and plan to make Maine an even better place to live.

Please join me in supporting the only candidate in this race who has stood up for equality – Eliot Cutler.

Rhonda Cashell

North Yarmouth