Former RNC Chair Ken Mehlman Launches Non-Profit to Attract Conservatives to Battle for Marriage Equality

Former RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman has launched Project Right Side, a non-profit aimed at attracting conservatives to the fight for marriage equality.

MehlmanWrites Mehlman in a WSJ op-ed announcing the project:

Some misperceive the issue of marriage equality as exclusively progressive. Yet what could be more conservative than support for more freedom and less government? And what freedom is more basic than the right to marry the person you love? Smaller, less intrusive government surely includes an individual deciding whom to marry. Allowing civil marriage for same-sex couples will cultivate community stability, encourage fidelity and commitment, and foster family values.

PrsMehlman argues that same-sex marriage is an idea conservatives should embrace:

Conservatives don't need to change core convictions to embrace the growing support for equal rights for gay Americans. It is sufficient to recognize the inherent conservatism in citizens' desire to marry, to be judged on their work, and not to be singled out for higher taxes or bullying at school. These objectives can be achieved while also protecting religious liberty, as demonstrated by states enacting civil marriage with exemptions for religious institutions.

To help Republicans appreciate this changing environment, I helped establish Project Right Side, which commissioned leading GOP polling firm Target Point to survey 16,000 voters over the past year, over-sampling Republican and swing voters in battleground states, including 2,000 such voters on Election Night.

According to a statement on its site, "Project Right Side is a 501(c)(4) non-profit providing research and analysis to improve the political climate for gay and lesbian issues across the political spectrum."

Visit Project Right Side's website HERE.


  1. says

    It’s funny how he comes out and does this AFTER he is in a position where he could have had the greatest effect. After spending years leading the charge to make Marriage Equality a wedge issue for conservative electoral gain, NOW he decides it can work with conservative doctrine.

    Is this a case of too little too late? You can only push away groups of people so long before you make them a historically opposed voting block. Just ask virtually any African American why they refuse to vote republican the last 20+ years.

  2. AngelaChanning says

    The road to redemption is long and hard and while he is going in the right direction, it pales in comparison to how he used our lives to advance a political party. There are still 30 some states that have anti-marriage equality amendments in state constitutions. Mehlman hurt real people, whether it was medical decision making, health insurance, estate planning, hitting in the pocketbook, or just the stress of being declared a second class citizen. Project Right Side cannot undo that damage.

  3. ChrisQ says

    Dear Ken, Now that the public is coming toward our side it is too late for redemption. You bullied us and kicked sand in our faces, hurt our families and used us – your own people – to serve your own ends when it suited you. Too much, too little, too late. And for the record, the GOP will NEVER come to our side without court rulings or majority vote that they continue to try to suppress. Thanks, but no thanks. I hope you like bachelorhood or paying for boyfriends. That’s all you are gonna get and all you deserve.

  4. Michaelandfred says

    If he did this AND spent the next year naked with a sign board in Times Square that read: I’m a sadistic pig that sold out my community for money and power causing untold harm to millions of innocent lives….and I’m a power bottom., THEN I might start to feel better.

  5. cminca says

    I wonder how much this “non-profit” will be paying Mr. Mehlman in “consulting fees”.

    We all know this slug will do anything for a buck. And won’t lift a finger unless there is a “profit” (of some sort) for himself.

  6. TampaZeke says

    Mehlman is a disgusting political opportunist! If he were doing this from his heart I might agree that “better late than never” and “forget the past” but he’s supporting marriage equality now for the EXACT same reasons that he used it against us and Democrats in 2004 and years thereafter; because he believes that being FOR marriage equality is NOW a political WINNER. This man doesn’t have the capacity to see the world in a non-political way. That’s why he was so good at what he did when he was shitting on us and why he’s been a bit successful in doing what he’s doing now.

    I’m glad he’s on our side and helping to undo just a speck of the damage he did to our community but I’m not about to pat him on the back, sing his praises, forget his past or pretend that his motives are noble.

  7. Fahd says

    I know there’s “judge not, lest ye be judged”, etc. but for me he’s a criminal who hasn’t been prosecuted. He’s along the lines of Goebbels and all the other propagandists in history who have caused real harm by setting one demographic group against the other.

    Why was he on the OUT 100 again?

    I will keep an eye on others’ comments. Does anyone here have a good word for him?

  8. says

    This all just boils down to a way to defeat Democrats in the next election, it has nothing to do with LGBT rights. I cannot see the Republican base (tea baggers and evangelicals) backing ENDA or wanting to repeal DOMA.

  9. TC says

    ken Mehlman is trying to give himself a job. Great. Create a non-profit, collet OUR money, pay yourself to be the executive director.

    As commented above, the road to redemption is long and hard but begins FIRST with asking for forgiveness, which he has never done.

    I say let him rot in the hell he has created for himself.

  10. says

    Yeah, and so is a Woman’s Right to Choose, but your party’s base is made up of America’s Stupidest People so don’t expect them to understand why.

    You’re the party of “smaller government” except you’re totally not for smaller government.

    I’ve often wondered if these boys become Republicans as an excuse for not getting laid. The reality is they’re all lacking in the genitalia department – by being Republicans they can pretend their lack of sex is a result of “mean liberals who won’t talk to them”…..

    But anyway, this is stupid – the GOP won’t drop the anti-gay, and ani-Choice, wedge issues because it’s the only thing they can use to trick America’s Stupids into voting against their own best economic interests.


  11. says

    I REALLY want to forgive Ken but it is hard. My partner and I are two of his victims. We live here in Ohio (one of the big states that he pushed an anti-gay ballot initiative in ’04) We have been together for 21 years and in this state we have nothing.
    Why is it that most of the obstacles we have for our rights come not from straight people but from closeted gay people?

  12. says

    Jim – because they’re simply not man enough to stand up to the bullies whose approval they’ve been conditioned to beg for.

    men like you and your partner (much love and hugs to you both, btw) are a threat to guys like Mehlman – you have authenticity and love, and he needs to throw you under the bus to save his own @ss. it’s the Gay GOP way of life.

    Mehlman, to his credit, has been trying (in his own odd way) to make amends for the last few years. But he’s still missing the point(s), over and over again.

  13. Oz in OK says

    If he wants to make a REAL difference in the GOP, then he needs to start supporting pro-LGBT candidates, and start investing BACK into the lives of the LGBT citizens that he so callously threw aside 8 years ago… he should be making massive contributions to LGBT homeless/teen shelters across the country, and telling the GOP to do the same, since the rhetoric HE helped to create has generated this pandemic of the homeless. He should be investing in pro-LGBT legal groups to help low-income LGBT citizens who are being actively discriminated against, because it is the rhetoric that HE helped create that fuels the discrimination. There’s a laundry list of pain, suffering and discrimination that Mehlman had a direct hand in fueling, and he needs to spend THE REST OF HIS LIFE fixing.

    No other answer will do.

  14. Anders says

    This guy’s sins are disgusting, without a doubt. And whether they have been properly litigated yet is a fair question.

    But leaving that aside, I can totally get behind the message that EQUALITY is not a right-wing or left-wing issue. Someone needs to bring this message to Republicans/conservatives in a language they will understand. Mehlman seems well qualified for that job.

    One of Romney’s major sins (of which there were MANY, to be sure) was dismissing the 47%. So let’s not make the same mistake by casting a large segment of the population as beyond our reach. Marriage is about love, commitment, fairness — we can bring that message to ALL Americans. People like @LittleKiwi should think twice about whether their divisive ‘47%/53%’ mindset and combative rhetoric are really doing us any tactical favors.

  15. LincolnLounger says

    The notion that Ken Mehlman is doing this for profit or needs a job is preposterous. We should welcome all to the fight, and putting all our eggs in the Democrat basket is a sure-fire way to get taken for granted. The more Republicans we can get on board, the better. Holding grudges is a waste of time and effort.

  16. Sean says

    I welcome anyone who fights for marriage equality.

    Don’t listen to narrow minded ideologues like Little Kiwi who HATE anyone that isn’t SUPER liberal 100% of the time.

    The bottom line is the bottom line. Fighting for equality is great and important. Who cares who does it as long as they do it.

  17. Caliban says

    Ummm, if he or anyone is expecting me to applaud because Mehlman is now doing *something* to deal with A PROBLEM HE HELPED CREATE, don’t hold your breath.

    Mehlman exploited anti-gay animus in religious and social conservatives to benefit the Republican party. The anti-gay marriage laws now on the books and other homophobic legislation besides that, are a DIRECT RESULT of the work Mehlman did. The “problem” he’s now so humbly claiming he wants to fix is a problem he created.

    And even now part of his motivation is again to benefit the GOP, draw gays and their allies to them.

    So f*ck Ken Mehlman! (Not literally, because that would just be… EWWW.)

  18. Modern Meet says

    When asked by the Republicans how long she would continue to blame the Bush regime for our present and continuing economic woes, she replied, “forever.” Similarly, Horseface Mehlman will never find redemption.

  19. says

    The Gay Republicans who want us to believe that a political party whose base feeds the ex-gay ministries and NOM CASH are suddenly going to come over to the side of reason and assist in granting equality to LGBT people are deluded.

  20. says

    Hey “Sean” – it aint my fault that you have people in your own life who tell you that they support Marriage Equality and then cast a vote for a candidate, and party ,that actively works against it.


  21. says

    Are there not enough groups working towards equality already?

    Equality Matters
    Fight OUT Loud
    Freedom to Marry
    Get Equal
    Join the Impact
    Marriage Equality USA
    National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
    Out & Equal
    + an Equality group in nearly every state (like Equality CA here in CA)

    How many of these groups ever did anything in my hometown? 0

    These groups duplicate the same objectives and expenses while many of them have 6-figure salary earning executive directors.

    There’s a lot of profit in nonprofit.

  22. andrew says

    Ken Mehlman is about as real and honest as that Little Kiwi, Ignore him and listen to honest and reasonable voices.

  23. UrbanMike says

    f*ck you Ken Mehlman. Many gay Americans suffered and died on your watch. How dare you. How dare you. Go to hell.

  24. Modern Meet says

    When asked by the Republicans how long she would continue to blame the Bush regime for our present and continuing economic woes, Madeleine Albright replied, “forever.” Similarly, Horseface Mehlman will never find redemption.

  25. says

    This could be an effective way for the Republican Party to sever the Tea Party wing of the GOP since this is the one issue the teabaggers simply won’t budge an inch from their fixed position.

  26. Michael says

    Mehlman served as the campaign manager for the 2004 re-election campaign of George W. Bush – the year they used a wave of anti homosexual State amendments to bring out the hate vote. Please disappear.

  27. Diogenes Arktos says

    I more than agree that there are already too many groups supporting marriage equality. It’s past time for some of them to go away. It’s even more the case that we don’t need another – especially by Mehlman, because he is justifiably viewed with great suspicion by all sides. The most he should ever be is a low-level consultant. He can start his quest for redemption from there.

    BTW – where were the “we need everybody” supporters when FEMEN was posted a few days ago? We have to be careful what we ask for. I have great sympathy for allowing all sides to speak, but some strong lines need to be drawn. NAMBLA, anyone?

  28. says

    Log Cabin republicans (who resent openly gay people. look up the rants of some of their members on you tube and online) just want to use puppets like this man who spent years DESTROYING gay lives….as a vehicle to get our money. Don’t fall for their trap. The republican part has A LOT more to do before they prove that they actually care and respect the MILLIONS of LGBT in this country. Democrats got our vote by nearly 80%! why? they showed they have compassion