US: Gay Republican slammed by colleague for coming out

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Pennsylvania State Representative Mike Fleck, who is facing a re-election battle, has been criticised by a fellow Republican over his 2012 decision to come out as gay.

It comes just days after Pennsylvania became the 19th US state to legalise equal marriage.

“If [Fleck] had just gone about his business and people thought he was a homosexual or heterosexual or whatever, there wouldn’t be a problem,” Pennsylvania State Senator John Eichelberger told the Altoona Mirror.

“A lot of people thought that Mike was a homosexual,” Senator Eichelberger added. “He didn’t announce it and it was OK. The feeling from many people is he put them in a very uncomfortable position.”

Mr Fleck, who represents the 81st house district in Huntingdon, central Pennsylvania, has been subjected to a candidacy challenge by Richard Irvin, a local Republican treasurer.

Mr Fleck has been elected four times since 2006 but early returns suggest he has lost the seat.

The result will be announced later this week.