In an effort to become the first lesbian governors in the country, Tina Kotek, a former speaker of the Oregon House, and Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey are running.
The Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 law that prohibited federal recognition of same-sex marriages, was successfully challenged for the first time in 2009 by Healey, who is currently the attorney general of Massachusetts. She also made history in 2014 when she was elected as the first openly lesbian state attorney general in the country.
Kotek was elected in 2013 as the nation’s first openly lesbian speaker of a state House of Representatives. Before resigning in January to run for governor, she once again made history by holding the position of House speaker for the longest period of time in Oregon.
US Lesbian Governor
On election day, these lesbian trailblazers may break barriers once more by becoming the first openly lesbian candidates to hold elective office in the history of the United States.
Healey, a Democrat, will have to defeat Republican Geoff Diehl, a former state lawmaker who has the support of former President Donald Trump, in order to accomplish that. Healy will become the first elected female governor of her state if she prevails, which is expected to happen by a large margin.
The chances for Kotek, a Democrat as well, are less favourable. She is up against former Oregon House minority leader Christine Drazan, a Republican, as well as Betsy Johnson, a third-party candidate who, according to recent polling, appears to be splitting Democratic voters.
If Healy or Kotek succeeds, they will join two other openly LGBTQ Democrats who have already been elected governor of their states: Kate Brown of Oregon, who is bisexual and was the first openly LGBTQ person to hold that office in 2015; and Jared Polis of Colorado, who was the first openly gay man to hold that office in 2018. Jim McGreevey, a former governor of New Jersey, was not out when he ran for office in 2001. However, he came out as gay in his 2004 resignation speech.
Healey and Kotek have gone a long way, according to Lisa Turner, executive director of LPAC, a political action committee that works to elect lesbians and other queer women to political office. “It validates the amount of work and effort that LGBTQ women have been putting into the community, into equality fights, into the electoral process.”
Kotek and Healey’s supporter, LGBTQ Victory Fund, vice president of political programming Sean Meloy, said the fact that other LGBTQ candidates are running competitive campaigns for governor “shows that this is not a one-and-done kind of occurrence.”
Who Is Maura Healey?
Although Healey was born in Maryland, she claimed to have been born “over” Massachusetts because members of her old Bay State family had deposited New England soil beneath the delivery table before she was even born. Healey was raised as a child in an old farmhouse in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire, as the eldest of five siblings.
When she was a student at Harvard College in Massachusetts and served as team captain for the women’s basketball squad, she first planted her seeds there. She spent several years as a professional basketball player in Austria before moving back to Massachusetts to enrol at the Northeastern University School of Law.
A few years after receiving her degree, Healey started her career in public service by joining the Massachusetts attorney general’s office, which she would later command. She had the chance to work with someone she cited as one of her lesbian role models during that time: The 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court case, in which Mary Bonauto, an American lawyer and civil rights activist, argued on behalf of same-sex couples, legalised same-sex marriage nationwide.
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