EqualityMaine courageously led Maine into national recognition for fair-minded, sensitive and sensible protection of the rights of our gay, lesbian and transgender friends, neighbors and families. It was neither easy nor immediate nor instantly popular, but it was right, and EqualityMaine can be proud of its leadership role.

But that pride in leadership was seriously tarnished by EqualityMaine’s pandering endorsement of U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud’s candidacy for governor of Maine.

Rep. Michaud is a gentleman and nice guy by anyone’s definition, but he has no claim to either leadership or courage.

His congressional record is so lackluster even his supporters can identify no leadership role; acknowledging his own sexual orientation was deferred until EqualityMaine and others made it socially comfortable, and his proposals for restoring the Maine economy mark him as one more modest man with – as Winston Churchill once said – much to be modest about.

Maine does not need one more modest man of modest ability.

Eliot Cutler stood up for the rights of our gay, lesbian and transgender community while Mike Michaud consistently was voting against recognition of those rights in the Maine Legislature and in Congress, while his views were “evolving,” as he now puts it. Now that it requires the courage of a rabbit to support those rights, he does so.

EqualityMaine took a narrow view by its endorsement of a follower rather than a leader, and by doing so needlessly reduced its own role to that of a special interest group rather than a true leader in the hard work of making a better Maine. It was a spectacularly missed opportunity by EqualityMaine.

Tom Franklin

Portland