Ken Mehlman: GOP Evolution on Gay Marriage is Personal
Ken Mehlman: GOPEvolution on GayMarriage is PersonalKen Mehlman’s interview with the Huffington Post on GayMarriage.
Former Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman, who came outas gay in 2010, believes GOP politicians views on same-sex marriage areaffected by their personal lives rather than the views of their colleagues.Mehlman, who served as George W. Bushs 2004 campaign manager, told TheAdvocate that he believes President Barack Obama -- who came out with a pro-marriage equality stance in May 2012 -- cant take full credit for the evolvingviews of Republican Party members.“I think that most of the signers of the [amicus curiae] brief, like other Americanswho have increasingly embraced the freedom to marry, are most impacted bywhat they see in their own lives,” Mehlman said. “That’s how change so oftenoccurs -- people reflecting on their core values and also their experiences. Andas people consider the importance of marriage to their own lives, they recognizehow fundamental this right is. As they come to fully know their gay friends andrelatives and neighbors and teammates, they don’t think it’s fair or consistentwith conservative values to deny them this basic right.”Mehlmans comments come weeks after a number of senators changed theirstance on same-sex marriage, starting with Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), whoflipped his views on the issue in March, citing his gay son as a the reason forchanging his mind.
As the former RNC Chairman, Mehlman has been a visible and vocalRepublican advocate for same-sex marriage. In 2010, three years after leavinghis post as chairman, Mehlman announced he is gay in an interview with TheAtlantic.Mehlman said he regretted not coming out earlier, despite the RepublicanPartys anti-gay rights platform, but that he believes the party has the potential tochange."I think the Republican Party is a diverse party with lots of different views, and Ithink its a mistake to presume that people who disagree with what I think is theright answer -- which is freedom to marry -- are inherently motivated by divisiveinstincts," Mehlman told The Huffington Post in 2010.Following the 2012 presidential election, Mehlman launched Project Right Side,a nonprofit group aimed at gaining right-wing support for marriage equality andgay rights and attracting new voters to the GOP."Conservatives dont need to change core convictions to embrace the growingsupport for equal rights for gay Americans," Mehlman wrote in a 2012 WallStreet Journal op-ed. "It is sufficient to recognize the inherent conservatism incitizens desire to marry, to be judged on their work, and not to be singled out forhigher taxes or bullying at school. These objectives can be achieved while alsoprotecting religious liberty, as demonstrated by states enacting civil marriagewith exemptions for religious institutions."