Former LCR Head: Mehlman an ‘Unhelpful’ Closeted Gay Republican

Rich Tafel, former head of the Log Cabin Republicans, lays into former RNC Chair Ken Mehlman in an interview with the Washington Blade:

Tafel “It pisses me off that people will put their ambition ahead of the truth, and then, when it’s convenient, play the gay card and hope that everybody [can] raise money and get money and then expect everybody to say, ‘Everything is great,’” Tafel said.

Tafel says Mehlman lacks moral courage and was an "unhelpful" kind of closeted gay Republican, rather than the covertly "helpful" kind:

Tafel said Mehlman’s decision to come out after working for campaigns that promoted anti-gay initiatives “sends a lousy message.”

“You do have to show moral courage in coming out when you work in politics,” Tafel said. “And if the message is stay ambitious, and stay in the closet, even work with anti-gay stuff, and then come out and everybody’s supposed to forgive him — I’m just not there.”

Tafel said Mehlman was unhelpful in those years, even as others who were closeted and held high-level positions within the Republican Party provided assistance to Log Cabin. Tafel counted Dan Gurley, a former field director for the Republican National Committee, as among those who were helpful even though he was closeted as a Republican Party operative.

“I would say there are two types of people in the closet,” Tafel said. “There’s one type of people in the closet who were extremely helpful to me, and then there were the other ones who weren’t. Ken was in the very small category of people who weren’t.”


“Most people actually tried to help … wherever they were in their life,” Tafel said. “They tried to help you, but he really never lifted a finger for us. Things got pretty hostile with myself and the Bush campaign. He was unhelpful. So, it was a pretty unhappy relationship. It was nothing positive.” Tafel said the Bush campaign in 2000 was “coming after” him personally and threatening to create another gay organization while saying “get in line or we’re going to put you out of business.”

More at The Blade, including a defense of Mehlman from current LCR Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper.

In related news, former Log Cabin Republican head Patrick Guerriero has left the Republican Party to become an Independent

"Primarily I have always looked at myself as being a public servant and I have found that bipartisanship is more important than party affiliation. I feel it’s always been a better way to get the job done—to look at the real issues and not concentrate on any one party’s agenda. I think a lot of people are frustrated with the political system and I am interested in making good policy rather than protecting party identity."


  1. Martin Murray says

    “You do have to show moral courage in coming out when you work in politics,”

    This attitude annoys me. It takes no more moral courage to come out when you work in politics, than when you work as a nurse, teacher, garbage collector, walMart employee. People in politics and the entertainment industry have it a lot easier than most of the rest of society, but are forever whining about how difficult it is for them, as it excuses their cowardice. Ken Mehlman is the most revolting type of homophobe – a homophobic, gay collaborator. He is reprehensible scum.

    And if even the Log Cabin Republicans are criticising him, then he truly is a man without any redeeming features!

  2. LincolnLounger says

    That’s ridiculous. This is similar to all the sniping that people (mostly legitimately) do about the HRC. Too many people want to wear the same crown and get attention when there’s only so much to go around.

    I don’t disagree with most of Rich’s point, but let’s not forget that Rich was the only out, professional gay Republican in town for a good while. He won’t like seeing his lavender thunder going elsewhere.

  3. Bart says

    I couldn’t give a rat’s ass what any of these people say. This is their petty bitch party, a circle jerk without a pivot man. Whining that someone didn’t “help” you when you are advocating for an organization that is destructive is both idiotic and specious as best. Working covertly within the Republican party when the hordes of Republicans outside the beltway would rather see your head on a stick is futile and stupid.

    What big inroads for gay men and women have these Log Cabin douches been able to pave? I’d be happy to hear anything substanitive but when I read the state Republican platforms with all their vile hatred, the true answer is absolutely nothing. So what Dick Cheney is for gay marriage…what has that achieved. So what Laura Bush and Megan McCain are pro-equality in marriage. What has that actually done? Fact is the majority if not the overwhelming majority of the Republicans would like to see a constitutional amendment banning it. Face it, the voting members who associate with that party hate any pro-gay rights. It’s become a party of crazy, neo-fascists, neo-evangelicals (I won’t call them Christians because they seem to know nothing about the life of Jesus Christ. Even if you don’t believe he is the son of God, the good he did on the earth, the standing up for the down trodden and the outsider is evident. These people are antithetical to that.) The Republicans are becoming more and more exclusive…the party of “I’ve got mine, and fuck everybody else that isn’t like me.”

    So these guys can whine and kevetch all they want about each other. In the closet, out of the closet, they are useless tools because they have collaborated with a party that is hurtful at best and hateful in reality. And it’s utter fantasy to believe otherwise.

  4. Mike says

    If I ever see Melman at a gay bar, gay rally, gay pride event or gay anything, I’m going to give him a big fat piece of my mind. He’s a coward and not welcome. He’s a vile insult and affront to the true pioneers of our fight for equality.

  5. Arthur says

    This gives me some hope. Usually the liberals are the ones taking each other out. I’m glad to see Republicans doing the same thing. It’s a great start.

  6. Gregoire says

    I love a good Republican Log flamefest. Let them fight over their narrow piece of land while the rest of us sit back and laugh.

  7. Steve Collins says

    I will forgive Ken Mehlman for his horrific behaviour when he acknowledges and apologises for hus foul behaviour and starts trying to make genuine amends for his bigotry. His $3.7 million apartment in Chelsea (acquired from the proceeds of his homophobia) being donated to LGBT causes would be a good start!

  8. Jerry says

    I’ve never met a gay Republican who wasn’t, at his/her core, a selfish bastard who backed the GOP strictly to reduce his/her taxes. Go ahead, quiz them and you’ll see I’m correct.

  9. reality bites says

    off topic but


    “Even if you don’t believe he is the son of God, the good he did on the earth, the standing up for the down trodden and the outsider is evident….”

    Uhm no

    1- there is not 1 shred of evidence that a man named jesus ever existed at all. Nothing even from contemporaries. The supposed gospels were written 70-90 yrs after supposed events = NOT contemporary

    2- all saviour myths have the same set of lifting up the down trodden etc. Horus “Light of the world and saviour of man” mythras ” saviour of man and son of god” talmuz “light of the world, saviour of man etc” and that is just 3 of the multitude!!!!! of saviour myths that were around centuries prior to the supposed jesus myth. Its a common theme amongst the oppresed …..a supernatural god man comes and heals them and liftes there burdens and treats them nicely while condemning the rulers. A very ancient and common tool used by the ruling class to give vent to the underclasse’s frustrations and give them false hope so they wont rise up and overthrow the rulers


    enough with sky gods and god men myths

    time to evolve

  10. reality bites says


    dont try to toss out alexander the great or Caesar as historical figures that we dont have proof of, cause we do. We have there own writings, we have cities they had built and named after themselves, and exact same time contemporaries writing about them.

    Not 1 bit of anything from supposed jesus or from 1 contemporary from that exact time period = Not 1 shred of evidence what so ever that said person ever existed except as a very common myth

  11. Dave says

    I was going to post some left-wing rambling but I think BART said it best. The GOP is like stepping in a pile of Tank. And “LINCOLNLOUNGER” As you sit pool side living on daddy and mummy’s lovingly bequeathed trust fund as you likely are… know that if Lincoln were to have lived today he would be a Progressive Democrat by any honest measure or reading of his works and deeds.

  12. LincolnLounger says

    Sit back and laugh at them all you want. Gregoire, it’s nice that you laugh. Some people laugh at the gay community that puts all its eggs in the Democrat basket. The Democrats who own the presidency and huge veto-proof majorities in Congress and couldn’t seem to get anything done but have a nice party in the White House.

    I’d laugh at being taken for granted over and over again. But, it’s too tragic to laugh.

  13. Dave says

    In the 41 years since Stonewall and in the over 50 years since the Civil Rights movement, each and every gain that has been made in our society in the realm of human rights has been made by PROGRESSIVE members of the Democratic Party and made in spite of the resistance of the GOP and that of corporate-democrats who are little more than seat warmers.

  14. TANK says

    Yeah, LL. I think you can count off truly gay friendly republican politicians (not retired, or spouses of politicos, but actual politicians) with one hand…and you’d still have enough fingers left to shove your thumb up your ass. Diversification simply for its own sake doesn’t make sense in investing, and it doesn’t make sense in politics.

  15. says

    I don’t think we should welcome Melman out of the closet with open arms, but he’s got a lot of experience with the political scene, if he can be used to help the “gay cause” now, great. Let him earn redemption.