Disgraced former congressman, who voted vehemently against LGBT equality, comes out as gay

Former GOP Congressman Aaron Schock has come out as gay after years of opposing LGBT+ equality.

Previously the the Republican Representative for Illinois’s 18th congressional district, in 2015 Schock resigned in disgrace after a scandal involving his alleged misuse of public and campaign funds.

Before this he was a staunch opponent of equal rights. He voted against lifting the ban on LGB people serving in the military, against extending hate crime protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity, and in favour of the Defence of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman.

In a lengthy post published to Instagram and his website, Schock did not apologise for his hypocrisy. He justified his former opposition to gay marriage as being a product of the times, a position once shared by politicians like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama – neither of whom had the insight of being gay themselves.

“I did like I’d always done and threw myself into the distraction of work and what I once understood success to be. That included being responsive to the interests of the constituents in the district that I served,” he said.

“Perhaps correctly, perhaps not, I assumed that revealing myself as their gay congressman would not go over well. I put my ambition over the truth, which not only hurt me, but others as well.”

While he declined to address his previous anti-LGBT+ positions, he insisted: “The truth is that if I were in Congress today, I would support LGBTQ rights in every way I could.

“I realise that some of my political positions run very much counter to the mainstream of the LGBTQ movement, and I respect them for those differences. I hope people will allow for me the same.”