Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Things you learn on blogs

According to The Next Hurrah, my mayor, just ending his term, has come out of the closet:
Lawrence City Commissioner Mike Rundle stepped down as mayor Tuesday night and acknowledged for the first time that he might have been the city's first gay mayor.

"It is with dignity and pride that I acknowledge that I have been Lawrence mayor and in all likelihood, Lawrence's first gay mayor," Rundle said, his voice breaking momentarily with emotion.

Rundle said he decided to go public with his sexuality in part because state voters earlier this month approved a constitutional amendment for a gay marriage ban and because of "whispering campaigns," and rumors and smear tactics launched at him after he first entered politics in 1987.

Rundle said he did not acknowledge his sexuality earlier because he wanted to keep the political focus on his quest for good government and avoid triggering a barrier of prejudice that might detract from that quest.

"I think, perhaps, that is less of a concern today than it was 18 years ago," Rundle said.

Rundle's announcement was greeted with a lengthy applause from a large audience that attended the commission meeting and from his fellow commissioners.

Although his one-year term as mayor is over, Rundle continues to serve as commissioner.

Note that I didn't see it myself in my paper, I saw it in a blog which read my local paper. Odd. I'm not sure how exactly this matters, since his progressive voice in local government probably didn't endear him to the conservatives anyway. People who liked him probably think more highly of him, those who didn't will feel more justified, and the world will go on about its business.