On Wednesday, Ken Mehlman, the former Bush-Cheney Campaign Chief and former Chairman of the Republican National Committee, formally came out as gay in an article in The Atlantic. Mehlman says in the interview, "It's taken me 43 years to get comfortable with this part of my life."
Mehlman added, "Everybody has their own path to travel, their own journey, and for me, over the past few months, I've told my family, friends, former colleagues, and current colleagues, and they've been wonderful and supportive. The process has been something that's made me a happier and better person. It's something I wish I had done years ago."
Yes, Ken, it's true that we all have our own path to travel, but most of us don't trample over the rights of our fellow human beings and scapegoat our own communities to in order to follow that path.
It was Mehlman who advocated the failed Marriage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in order to rally the Republican base during the 2004 election season. It didn't matter that the amendment didn't stand any real chance of passing, it got the far right wing conservatives to the polls. That was its sole purpose.
It was Mehlman's actions that motivated the state Republican parties of Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia in '04 and '06 to push voter initiatives to amend their state constitutions to limit marriage to opposite sex couples.
The Atlantic's Mark Ambinder writes:
Mehlman's leadership positions in the GOP came at a time when the party was stepping up its anti-gay activities -- such as the distribution in West Virginia in 2006 of literature linking homosexuality to atheism, or the less-than-subtle, coded language in the party's platform ("Attempts to redefine marriage in a single state or city could have serious consequences throughout the country..."). Mehlman said at the time that he could not, as an individual Republican, go against the party consensus. He was aware that Karl Rove, President Bush's chief strategic adviser, had been working with Republicans to make sure that anti-gay initiatives and referenda would appear on November ballots in 2004 and 2006 to help Republicans.Mehlman's sexual orientation has long been the subject of speculation. Both Mike Rogers of BlogActive and John Byrne, Editor of The Raw Story, have been working on this since 2004. At the time, no one in Washington would confirm what had been Mehlman's open secret.
The Atlantic only moved forward with the story after Rogers threatened to scoop them and publish his story first. Mike Rogers is the blogger who outed Sen. Larry Graig, (ID), Congressman Mark, Foley (FL) and many other closeted gay lawmakers who have promoted an anti-gay agenda. Rogers was profiled in the 2009 documentary Outrage, that blew open the GOP's closet door.
There is already chatter on the web about this event being a turning point in the GOP's approach to the gay community. I am sure that GOProud and the Log Cabin Republicans are both pulling all-nighters trying to spin this to their own advantage. Could it be possible that in the coming election cycle, or the next one, we'll see the do-nothing-Dems and the Republicans fighting for the gay vote?