Today, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D), a man who’s often been called a “prickly politician,” and who looks like the state made the unfortunate mistake of letting Ted Turner run things, announced his resignation in the face of an ethics scandal that’s consumed his credibility. He and his fiancee are the focus of a criminal investigation into whether or not she used the Governor’s office to secure consulting contracts. Following the sudden resignation of their scandal-singed Governor, by Oregon law, the Secretary of State will now assume the governorship, thus, making Kate Brown (D) the first openly bisexual governor in American history. The surprise silver lining of this too-common, good old boy story of political corruption: Oregon just made American history.
With the first LGBTQ governor, America has taken another step forward in its political march forward to normalize the involvement of the full spectrum of the American populace. Back in 2013, Rep. Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz.) was elected to the US Congress. She made history as the first bisexual member of Congress. Also in 2013, Tammy Baldwin (Wis-D) became the first US senator who is openly LGBTQ. Now, as the first openly bisexual state leader, Gov. Brown becomes the highest-ranking LGBTQ public official in all the land. These historic marks of progress are starting to look less like leaps, and more like alternating steps, frequent enough they resemble a walk with purpose.
One interesting note, this is the second time that Brown has assumed office after her predecessor’s resignation. It almost appears like her political career has been the equivalent of “Angels in the Outfield.” Whether or not there’s a divine plan to make her America’s first openly bisexual governor–she’s got the job now.
Before anyone gets too excited, she is still a politician. There are already questions about her ethics. After she accepted campaign donations from Comcast (the company’s given Brown $9,500 since 2009), she sent a letter to the FCC endorsing Comcast’s merger with Time Warner Cable. So, there’s that. Apparently, Oregon politics is shadier than a redwood grove. Who knew?
Also, what exactly does it mean to have an openly bisexual governor? This one’s married to a dude … and has been since 1997. However, the Oregon gay community accepts her. And now, American history will, too.