Former Illinois Republican U.S. Rep Aaron Schock took to Instagram on Thursday to announce his coming out as gay.
Schock served as a Republican from Peoria who first ran following recruitment by Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) for a Congress seat in 2008.
At the time, Cole called Schock “An all-star recruit.” During his time in Congress, Schock rose to B-list celebrity status and later landed on the cover of Men’s Health magazine and dubbed “America’s fittest congressman.”
In his message, Schock wrote:
“(If) I were in Congress today, I would support LGBTQ rights in every way I could. … I hope that you’ll find me reflecting credit on the gay community — diverse in its thinking, growing in confidence, gaining in equality and acceptance.”
During his time in the House, Schock held the party line on LGBTQ rights, including:
- Holding views against same-sex marriage
- Voting against changing federal hate-crime laws to include “sexual orientation and gender identity” as targeted categories
- Voting against repealing the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) regulations in 2010.
“I realize that some of my political positions run very much counter to the mainstream of the LGBTQ movement, and I respect them for those differences,” Schock wrote in the post. “I hope people will allow for me the same.”
In 2015 at the age of just 33, Schock resigned from Congress following an ethics probe that cited questionable spending and documentation, including decorating his Capitol Hill office in the style of “Downton Abbey,” the Edwardian-era drama on PBS.
All of the charges were dropped in 2019.