Virginia Delegate Mark Sickles on Friday came out gay, making him the second openly gay member of the state legislature.

“I am a proud gay man,” Sickles wrote in a The Washington Post op-ed lauding a federal judge's recent ruling striking down Virginia's ban on gay marriage.

“When I was 21 years old, I realized and accepted that I was different from most of my friends,” Sickles said. “In my teens, I did not get excited about the prom or asking my girlfriend out for a date. Although many of my closest friends have been women, I felt a deeper connection with men. This acceptance of my sexual orientation, or 'coming out' to myself, was such an incredible relief. I have always lived openly with my neighbors, friends and family, lived a full life and never regretted the way I was born. But the current moment in Virginia has convinced me that it could be helpful to share this aspect of my life with all my constituents.”

Sickles is vying for the Democratic nomination to run for the congressional seat of Rep. Jim Moran, who is retiring.

Among his rivals for the nomination is Senator Adam Ebbin, the state legislature's other openly gay lawmaker.