Former Republican Congressman Aaron Schock Comes Out as Gay

Former Republican Congressman Aaron Schock has come out as gay in a lengthy statement posted on both his Instagram and personal website.

“The fact that I am gay is just one of those things in my life in need of explicit affirmation, to remove any doubt and to finally validate who I am as a person,” he writes.

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Schock, who served as a congressman from Illinois from 2009 to 2016, resigned following media speculation that he was misusing federal and campaign funds, for which he was indicted on 24 accounts. Last year, all charges were dropped after making a deal with the federal prosecutor’s office.

While in office, the former lawmaker consistently voted against measures that support and protect the LGBTQ community, including the 2010 repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” which allows LGBTQ people to openly serve in the military. He also voted against same-sex marriage and the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which provides funds and assistance for states to more effectively investigate and prosecute hate crimes. In fact, the NYT notes that the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy group, gave Schock a score of “zero” in a 2014 report assessing lawmakers’ support for LGBTQ issues.

In his coming out statement, Schock doesn’t apologize for his voting record. Rather, he writes, “No one gets to choose when we learn our lives’ big lessons.” He then attempts to contextualize the times in which he was in office, noting how in 2008, the three major presidential candidates, John McCain, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton all opposed marriage equality.

He did, however, write, “The truth is that if I were in Congress today, I would support LGBTQ rights in every way I could.”

Throughout his political career and following his time in office, there was constant speculation about Schock’s sexuality. During Coachella last year, video footage emerged of a shirtless Schock kissing another man with his hand down the other man’s pants.

Former Rep. Barney Frank, an openly gay man, famously said that Aaron Schock should be outed for his voting record on LGBTQ issues.

“When you are in public office and you vote opposite to the way you live your life, no I don’t think you have privacy,” Frank told ABC News. “Anyone who is gay and votes in an anti-gay fashion has, it seems to me, lost their right to privacy, because it’s been converted to a right to hypocrisy.”

While Schock’s mother initially rejected him for being gay, it seems as if she’s slowly coming to accept him. He concluded his statement saying, “[M]y mother told me that if there is anyone special in my life, she wants to meet them. I’m optimistic about the future and ready to write the next chapter of my life.”

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