Oregon's Kate Brown to become first openly bisexual governor

After Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) officially resigns on Wednesday, the state will become the first with an openly bisexual governor in American history.

Secretary of State Kate Brown, the incoming governor, has been involved in state politics for decades. She was first appointed to the state House of Representatives in 1991 and elected a year later.

ADVERTISEMENT

She later rose to the state Senate where she served as majority leader. Brown was elected as secretary of state in 2008.

On a profile posted for a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) history website, Brown says that she first came out to her friends and family when The Oregonian wrote about her sexuality.

She has been married to her husband for over a decade.

A spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT civil rights group, said that while Brown will “make history as the nation's first sitting LGBT governor, the more important truth is that she's supremely capable of leading the state to better days ahead.”

New Jersey became the first state with an openly gay governor when former Gov. Jim McGreevey (D) came out as gay on the day he announced he was resigning from his post in 2004. He ended up staying in office for another three months, because leaving earlier would have triggered a special election.

Brown ascends to the governorship as Kitzhaber announced he would step down amid a growing corruption scandal. The state’s attorney general announced this week that her office had opened a criminal investigation into allegations that the state's first lady had improper influence on the administration while running a private business.