This Politician Could Become America’s First Openly Gay Governor
Congressman Jared Polis is on track to be the first openly gay Governor ever elected in the United States.
On Tuesday, the Colorado congressman was successfully nominated as the Democratic candidate for Colorado Governor after winning the party primary with over 44 percent of the vote.
Polis was elected as a congressional representative for Colorado’s second district in 2008 as only the sixth openly gay person to serve in the House of Representatives.
The five-term congressman was also the first gay man to be elected for his initial term after coming out.
If elected governor, the 43-year-old would be the first openly gay man elected to the Governor’s mansion in any part of America.
In a recent speech to Colorado Democrats, Polis highlighted the impact that being an openly gay person in the state’s highest position could have, particularly under the current President and administration.
Polis said: “I think it really gives Colorado an opportunity to stick a thumb in the eye of Mike Pence, whose view of America is not as inclusive as where America is today.”
The congressman has consistently supported LGBT rights during his time in office, including campaigning for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
Polis was one of the co-sponsors of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, a law designed to provide federal protection against hate crime, particularly for states that do not have hate crime protections.
In 2014, Polis also fought to protect LGBT people by minimising an exemption to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to try reduce the ability for people to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity based on religious belief.
After winning the Democratic nomination, Polis will now face Republican candidate Walker Stapleton in the election scheduled for November 6.
In 2004, former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey was the first governor to come out as gay while in office, coming out during his resignation speech.
In 2016, bisexual Democrat Kate Brown won a surprise electoral campaign to become the Governor of Oregon, making her the first openly LGB politician ever elected to a governor’s mansion.
The Democrat was first sworn in as Governor in Oregon in 2015 with just five days’ notice, drafted in after the resignation of Governor John Kitzhaber.
After winning praise for her level-headed approach, Governor Brown successfully stood for election to carry on in the role.