A GOP congressman from Illinois who resigned in 2015 amid charges of defrauding the government voted against same-sex marriage and other LGBT-positive laws during his four-term tenure. Which is why Aaron Schock's Thursday announcement on social media was shocking. "I am gay," he wrote on Instagram and his own website. Schock confirmed to the Peoria Journal Star the posts were from him. He says his religious family's reaction hasn't been pleasant. "It's fair to say it has not been a case of instant acceptance and understanding," he writes. "What I had to share was unwelcome news to every single person in my family ... and was met with sadness, disappointment, and unsympathetic citations to Scripture." Schock also broaches the elephant in the room: "Where was I, [the LGBT public] will ask, when I was in a position to help advance issues important to gay Americans?"
The 38-year-old's explainer: He notes he was a Republican running in a conservative district more than a decade ago, and that his anti-gay marriage stance then was like that of John McCain, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton. "The truth is that if I were in Congress today, I would support LGBTQ rights in every way I could," he adds. Not everyone is welcoming him into the LGBT sphere with open arms, specifically because he never says "I'm sorry" in his lengthy note. "Everyone deserves to come out as their authentic self on their own terms," GLAAD tweeted. "However, Aaron Schock's statement fails to acknowledge the years of hurt that his votes ... caused LGBTQ Americans." As for how Schock is faring today, he says family members still send him emails to get him to go to conversion therapy, but he adds that his mom recently told him "if there is anyone special in my life, she wants to meet them." (Read more LGBT stories.)