Maura Healey Makes History as Nation’s 1st Lesbian Governor

The Democratic attorney general, who's also the first woman to lead Massachusetts, defeated a Trump-backed Republican.

Maura Healey Makes History as Nation’s 1st Lesbian Governor
Photo:AP Photo/Mary Schwalm (AP)

It’s official: Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is the first female governor of the state and the first openly lesbian governor in the nation—and also only the third queer governor.

Healey, a former civil rights attorney who’s served as the state’s attorney general since 2014, trounced Republican opponent and former state Rep. Geoff Diehl, restoring the state to Democratic governorship for the first time since 2015. The race was called by the Associated Press shortly after polls closed.

In September, Diehl was endorsed by former president Donald Trump, and often vocalized a mutual admiration for the latter: “Trump delivered four years that I thought was pretty successful for our country,” he recently said. Diehl also stood by the Supreme Court’s ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson and asserted it wouldn’t have bearing on birthing people in the state: “The Dobbs decision does not affect a woman’s right in Massachusetts—not one iota.” He also claimed that as governor he would “protect women’s health care choices,” yet is recognized among pro-choice advocates as a “fixture of the anti-abortion movement.” Notably, not at all unlike fellow GOP-backed candidates, Diehl often criticized the “liberal media,” called for stricter immigration laws, and lamented over schools teaching students about implicit racial bias and white privilege.

Meanwhile, Healey, who maintained consistent polling and funding leads throughout the race, is staunchly pro-choice and has been known to spar with high-profile and moneyed entities like pharmaceutical companies, the National Rifle Association, and big tech. Healey also played a significant role in legalizing gay marriage. Her campaign hinged on creating affordable housing, bolstering environmental and sustainable efforts, and improving public transportation.

She was supported by Democratic Rep. Ayanna Pressley and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who tweeted of Healey’s victory: “We’ve elected a woman who fights to protect working families—a warrior who’s gone toe to toe with for-profit colleges and Big Oil—and it’s a great victory for the people of Massachusetts. Woo-hoo!”

Healey has yet to comment on the win, but told local reporters in June that she felt most heartened by her campaign’s success when young people told her they take comfort in her visibility as an openly queer leader in the state: “I’m proud of who I am.”

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