Former RNC Chair Ken Mehlman Confirms in Interview: I'm Gay

Former RNC Chair Ken Mehlman has come out of the closet in an interview with The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder.

Ken_mehlman Said Mehlman: "It's taken me 43 years to get comfortable with this part of my life. 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."

Mehlman says he tried to stop Republicans from attacking gay marriage:

Privately, in off-the-record conversations with this reporter over the years, Mehlman voiced support for civil unions and told of how, in private discussion with senior Republican officials, he beat back efforts to attack same-sex marriage. He insisted, too, that President Bush "was no homophobe." He often wondered why gay voters never formed common cause with Republican opponents of Islamic jihad, which he called "the greatest anti-gay force in the world right now."

What does he regret?

"I can't change the fact that I wasn't in this place personally when I was in politics, and I genuinely regret that. It was very hard, personally." He asks of those who doubt his sincerity: "If they can't offer support, at least offer understanding."

"What I do regret, and think a lot about, is that one of the things I talked a lot about in politics was how I tried to expand the party into neighborhoods where the message wasn't always heard. I didn't do this in the gay community at all."

He said that he "really wished" he had come to terms with his sexual orientation earlier, "so I could have worked against [the Federal Marriage Amendment]" and "reached out to the gay community in the way I reached out to African Americans."

Ambinder notes: "Mehlman is the most powerful Republican in history to identify as gay."

Read the whole thing here.

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  1. And further, he's doing what every pundit does: hijacks the arguments and language of the oppressed to shield himself from criticism while attempting to create faux moral highground to rebuff legitimate outrage at his deceit and oppression.

    "We all have a wandering path, and nobody's perfect..." Well okay, Pol Pot, I guess you're alright in my book...cause life's just a confusing series of random events and nobody's ever responsible for what they choose to do. Gee whiz....

    Posted by: TANK | Aug 25, 2010 6:48:35 PM

  2. KJ is not about a Wondering path ... we all had our own. the problem with people like him is that this man knew he was gay .. and worked, implemented and supported the the Bush administration anti-gay agenda. And now that he is out of politics he want to come out and say; hey gays I didn't mean any of that homophobic stuff; I helped implement, I'm really one of you.... That is really hard to take..... in other world: "Screw you, fuckface!"

    Posted by: artsenyc | Aug 25, 2010 6:51:38 PM

  3. @ KJ
    Yeah but you didn't help cultivate a social terror of intolerance that helped Bush Jr. into an undeserved second term. Ken did and he needs to be aware, the location of the bodies of teens who may have committed suicide because of his internalized homophobia. The bitchazz deserves a short drop and a sudden stop. These closeted political elite think because they are accepted in their circles, the rest of us can rot even if it means walking over our lifeless bodies.

    Posted by: SSCHIEFRSHA | Aug 25, 2010 6:52:39 PM

  4. @RB and KJ, if he had been an innocuous, conservative closet-case who came out later in life, no harm - no foul. but this tawdry whore was selling his soul and selling out his "community" for pelf and self-promotion while working against basic rights for GLBTs. now, after enriching himself at the expense of others, he comes a-knocking with (emotinal) hat in hand and his mea culpas. again i say, eat shit and die.

    Posted by: nic | Aug 25, 2010 6:56:53 PM

  5. It's great that he's come out. It's great that he's working with AFER, and that they're working with him. He may prove a terrific asset for us in the months and years to come, and I hope he does.

    I also hope that he understands why most of us wish he would fuck off and die.

    Posted by: adamblast | Aug 25, 2010 6:59:59 PM

  6. A*S*S*H*O*L*E!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted by: Will | Aug 25, 2010 7:00:51 PM

  7. All I can say is Ditto to those who have no sympathy for Mehlman. He is a backstabbing hypocrite who found a convenient point in his life to "come out." Now he tells us, "Be an islamaphobe. That will bring us all together." While I am angered by the theocrats in the Middle East who destroy the lives of gay people in Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and Iran, I know damned well that the hate the Thugs have for Mulims has nothing to do with homophobia, and everything to do with Christianist bigotry, lust for oil, and hatred of brown people.

    I am NOT like Mehlman. I don't give a damn whether he is gay!

    Posted by: candideinnc | Aug 25, 2010 7:02:16 PM

  8. Apology not accepted!

    There is only one option for cowards..... If he cannot figure it out....ask the involves a sword!

    Posted by: Bains | Aug 25, 2010 7:02:49 PM

  9. "He often wondered why gay voters never formed common cause with Republican opponents of Islamic jihad, which he called 'the greatest anti-gay force in the world right now.'"

    Um, not locally.


    Posted by: latebrosus | Aug 25, 2010 7:12:16 PM

  10. You can take your wandering path and follow it off a cliff. Too little, and way too fucking late.

    Posted by: gardenweasel | Aug 25, 2010 7:15:05 PM

  11. And I'm pissed at AFER for even associating with him, giving him what must seem like some legitimizing cover to start to rehabilitate himself. They come off sullied in my book and he gets prominence in a movement he could not have given a f*ck about until now when he wants his coming out party. Fade away and die already, dirtbag.

    Posted by: Sean | Aug 25, 2010 7:24:59 PM

  12. He wonders why we didn't join forces with the GOP to fight "the greatest anti-gay force in the world right now"? Maybe because the second greatest anti-gay force in the world is America's religious right, which Mehlman's RNC courted so assiduously.
    As if any Republican ever cited homophobia as a reason to oppose Islamic fundamentalism in the first place...
    Happy to hear that Mehlman has finally come out, but give me a break!

    Posted by: pfrank | Aug 25, 2010 7:27:51 PM

  13. Everybody does NOT "have their own path."

    Now that piece David Frum wrote yesterday -- that I comment on here

    makes sense. They're ALL coming out of the closet -- because they have nowhere else to go.


    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Aug 25, 2010 7:32:36 PM

  14. Really, the hateful comments? Is there a bigotry against those who come out on their own terms, even after serving in ways we wish they had not? Seems so to me. Shame on all of you who think you are holier than thou? What is your story? Completely proud of it?

    Posted by: Greg | Aug 25, 2010 7:34:06 PM

  15. sorry ken, I don't really give a fuck about your coming out. Please do everyone a favor by stuffing yourself back into that filthy closet of yours - your gay citizenship was permanently revoked a LONG time ago.

    Posted by: Homophilic | Aug 25, 2010 7:37:42 PM

  16. Dear Ken,

    Fuck off and die you slimebag. Seriously.



    Posted by: gaylib | Aug 25, 2010 7:39:49 PM

  17. I love that he seems to have expected an "all's forgiven" warm embrace. Don't think that's happening. On the other hand, Ken, you might want to check out "Murder on the Orient Express" to get a better flavor for the community's overall reaction.

    Posted by: Jess | Aug 25, 2010 7:40:32 PM

  18. "What is your story? Completely proud of it?"

    Nope. But I never worked for a political party that wanted to imprison my fellow gays. I am an unequivocally better person than Ken Mehlman, and I'd say that goes for 95% of people who post here.

    Jesus. All the Republicans and Republican-apologists do is bash moral relativism as some sort of liberal invention. And then when liberals hold firm to principles, we're attacked as 'intolerant'.

    Seriously, fuck off. Being tolerant of intolerance is not part of any liberal creed. You don't get to bash the gay community for most of your working life and then get in on a free pass. Community entails responsibility, and Ken Mehlman has never demonstrated any.

    Posted by: Zach | Aug 25, 2010 7:44:19 PM

  19. In his attempt to re-elect GW Bush, Mehlman organized Christian churches to oppose us, encouraged the Republicans on a state level to put anti-LGBT referenda on the ballot to bring out the religious right voter, encouraged Bush to say he would veto ENDA if it passed, and supports (even now) separate but equal for us. It will take much more than his giving a few thousand dollars to AFER to make up for the damage he has done to our community. Perhaps in a few decades, if he has been on the front lines of our fight for equality, I will then believe that he is truly sorry. Until then, I view this as shallow, meaningless spin, occasioned by his recent purchase of a $3.7 million penthouse in Chelsea in the hope he can finally get people to sleep with him.

    Posted by: silverkjk | Aug 25, 2010 7:46:56 PM

  20. What a PIG!!!! Oh and let's not forget the other self loathing homosexual MARY CHENEY!!!!!!

    Posted by: mattew sullivan | Aug 25, 2010 8:02:20 PM

  21. our very own roy cohn. he disgusts me.

    Posted by: psgoodguy | Aug 25, 2010 8:23:28 PM

  22. I'm really shocked with all of the clear evidence presented on these pages of Ken Mehlman's offenses that people still feel willing to this man's defense. Stop projecting your own coming out experience on to this man! It's not the same. This man is actually responsible for cultivating a national environment of anti-LGBT sentiment that resulted in, among other things, codifying discrimination in 30 plus states in this country. Do we really want to support someone who actively worked against his own kind, profited from it, and then because he's decided that he now accepts he's gay and wants to do some work on marriage equality (which may have very little to do with correcting the wrong against those he's harmed and everything to do with attempting to secure some future happiness for himself) thinks all should be forgiven? The headline of that Atlantic article should have been "I'm Profoundly Sorry" not "I'm Gay." Until he acknowledges the significant damage he's done, I really don't want to see this man's face.

    Posted by: cmh | Aug 25, 2010 8:29:00 PM

  23. I'm thinking he had to do this in order to run for office.

    Posted by: anon | Aug 25, 2010 8:33:30 PM

  24. One of the points of fighting for civil rights is that none of us should be judged based on any group we belong to or arbitrary characteristics we may share; we should be judged as individuals. Well my judgment of Kenny-boy is that he is still a self-serving lying piece of pond scum. Only now we know the depths of his moral depravity in his pathetic attempts to backpeddle his participation in organized GOP anti-gay hate campaigns.

    This information only means he is as much an Aunt Mary (the LGBT version of an Uncle Tom) as Mary Cheney (for whom the term was coined), John McCain's openly gay campaign manager and the openly gay GOP Finance Chair who worked for Mehlman. All were instrumental in organizing campaigns to slander, dehumanize and belittle us. Openly gay or closeted, or even straight for that matter, if you work to damage lives and demonize innocent people, you need to do a hell of a lot more than Kenny here to even begin to think you deserve forgiveness.

    As for AFER - take the motherf*cker for every dime he has!

    Posted by: CPT_Doom | Aug 25, 2010 8:39:38 PM

  25. Does he think Democrats are FOR Islamic Jihad?

    Posted by: Rodney Wollam | Aug 25, 2010 8:55:52 PM

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