Ken Mehlman Hub

Maryland's Marriage Equality Measure, Once a Notable Omission, Shows Up on 'Freedom to Marry' Agenda

Yesterday, news spread of a fundraiser hosted by former RNC Chair Ken Mehlman and a celebrity-studded committee at Mehlman's Chelsea, NYC apartment for national marriage equality organization Freedom to Marry. The invitation, which you can look at AFTER THE JUMP, was posted by Chris Geidner at Buzzfeed.

WolfsonWhat was not noted by the Buzzfeed article was that, for the first time, Maryland is one of Freedom to Marry's beneficiaries and appears to now be on their agenda. That Maryland is back on the group's radar is good news, of course, showing that recent polls (showing a 53% approval, 38-39% opposition) have bolstered the confidence of advocacy groups and LGBT supporters that a marriage equality measure (along with perhaps several others) can succeed at the ballot.

Last March, the Washington Blade's Kevin Naff, in an article headlined "Freedom to Marry Abandons Maryland Fight", wrote:

Clearly, [founder and president Evan] Wolfson lacks confidence in the coalition, led by the Human Rights Campaign, and implies here that there isn’t “sufficient groundwork and investment” to preserve the law. The anti-gay National Organization for Marriage predictably pounced on Wolfson’s remarks as evidence that the law lacks support.

Naff noted that bloggers were expressing dismay about the group's non-inclusion of Maryland and lack of support for the North Carolina  campaign against Amendment One.

This morning, asked about the group's addition of Maryland to its agenda, Freedom to Marry's Evan Wolfson told me, "I have always believed we could win in Maryland, provided those in the lead there this round did the work and used the time effectively."

"Our drive and focus and hard work between March and now enabled Freedom to Marry first to raise and then invest more than $3 million so far in key battleground states," he added, "becoming the major national fundraiser for three of the campaigns (Maine, Washington, and Minnesota), even as we looked to others, notably HRC, to take the lead in Maryland.  Our focus and push has given those states unprecedented early money (the most valuable), enabling them to lock in TV air time before prices escalate, and otherwise make the case to voters."

Freedom to Marry's efforts have been focused strategically and incrementally, with the goal "of winning 1, then if doable 2, then if doable 3, etc," said Wolfson.

Finally, Wolfson laid out the group's plans for the remainder of the year:

"Building on the help we've quietly been providing Maryland all along, as well as our lead role on the three others, we again wanted to send a call to action that everyone should step up and do what we all can to win in all 4 states.  Having earlier this year worked to pave a pathway for the president, secure a freedom to marry plank in the Democratic platform, and launch Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry, overcoming the ballot-measure barrier is now our remaining 2012 top priority as we look to tee up a big 2013, with more states to win and the need to create a climate of empowerment as the Supreme Court potentially hears one or more marriage-related cases."

The invite for next month's fundraiser, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Maryland's Marriage Equality Measure, Once a Notable Omission, Shows Up on 'Freedom to Marry' Agenda" »

Colorado GOP House Speaker Says He's 'Under No Obligation' to Bring Up Civil Union Bill as Clock Ticks Down

Colorado House Speaker Frank McNulty is considering stalling the civil unions bill, currently waiting to be heard by the House Appropriations Committee, even though the votes are there in the House to pass it, the Denver Post reports:

McnultyThe Highlands Ranch Republican said leadership is under no obligation to bring the bill up for a debate after it gets out of the House Appropriations Committee, which will have the hearing tomorrow. The bill must have what is called a second reading, or its debate, before the full floor by Tuesday so it can be officially voted on Wednesday, which is the last day of the session. If that doesn't happen, the bill is dead.

McNulty says he is being lobbied heavily:

McNulty pointed out that last year the Democratic-controlled Senate let bills die on the calendar. "Understandably, this bill is a lot higher profile than bills that died last year," he said.

The Post spoke with former RNC Chair Ken Mehlman who is trying to convince McNulty to go ahead with it: "I care about the health of the Republican Party and blocking something the vast majority of voters support and that will undermine family values and undermine freedom seems to me to be both bad policy and bad politics."

Here's McNulty's info (via btb)

Twitter: @RepMcNulty
Email: and
Facebook: Frank McNulty
Phone: 303-866-2346

UPDATE: Civil union supporters are holding a rally at 10am tomorrow morning.

On Tuesday, May 8, supporters of the legislation will rally on the West Steps of the State Capitol and call for a full up-or-down vote in the House.

If we want civil unions to be debated in the House (where it has enough votes to pass), we need to show House leadership how widespread support for civil unions is -- so please join us and WEAR RED to show your support!

Ken Mehlman: 'I am Sorry' for Harming Gay People During 2004 Bush Campaign

In an article in Salon, former RNC Chair Ken Mehlman apologizes for the first time for harm done to gays in his 2004 position as campaign manager for President Bush, in which conservative voters were strategically driven to the polls by anti-gay ballot measures. While Mehlman has previously expressed regret that he hadn't come out earlier and been able to influence his party in ways beneficial to it and the gay community, this is the first time he has directly apologized for his efforts in 2004.

Says Mehlman: Mehlman

“At a personal level, I wish I had spoken out against the effort,” he says. “As I’ve been involved in the fight for marriage equality, one of the things I’ve learned is how many people were harmed by the campaigns in which I was involved. I apologize to them and tell them I am sorry. While there have been recent victories, this could still be a long struggle in which there will be setbacks, and I’ll do my part to be helpful.”

Salon adds:

In 2011, Mehlman personally lobbied 13 New York state Republican legislators to help pass the state’s same-sex marriage law, and did the same with 10 Republican U.S. senators during the congressional battle to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Although he is still a loyal Republican — he recently contributed to a fundraiser for House Speaker John Boehner, a gay marriage opponent — a month ago Mehlman published an Op-Ed in the conservative Manchester Union-Leader in which he explained to conservatives and Republicans why supporting same-sex marriage venerates their beliefs not only in individual and economic freedoms, but personal responsibility and family values.

Mehlman was also reportedly lobbying behind-the-scenes on marriage equality measures in New Hampshire and Maryland.

Rachel Maddow Talks to Frank Rich About the Silent Hypocrisy of Pro-Gay Republican Power Players: VIDEO


Frank Rich sat down with Rachel Maddow last night to discuss why pro-gay Republican power players like Paul Singer and Dick Cheney (rumored to have lobbied behind the scenes for marraige equality in Maryland) - and gay Republicans like Ken Mehlman refuse to speak out and condemn the radical anti-gay platform of every single GOP candidate for President.

RichSays Rich:

"There's a complete disconnect. I guess it's just a kind of desperate, craven relationship to the base of that party. We now have a base of the Republican party that is so radical that they can be pandered to by calls for elimination of public education...the hypocrisy...someone like Ken Mehlman is in a long tradition, I hate to say it, of Republicans who were closeted homosexuals in power, actually enabling homophobic policies and in some cases the real demonization of gay people. And then as soon as they're away from it...then he comes out and does the right thing. Comes out as gay, but also comes out of those policies. But where was he when it really mattered within his own party?...There's a real pathological disconnect and they've really got to be called on it."


And here's Rich's latest article on marriage equality.

Continue reading "Rachel Maddow Talks to Frank Rich About the Silent Hypocrisy of Pro-Gay Republican Power Players: VIDEO" »

Gay Former RNC Chair Ken Mehlman to Lobby NH Lawmakers Against Marriage Equality Repeal

Former RNC Chair Ken Mehlman has published an op-ed in New Hampshire's Union Leader saying that he is in the state this week lobbying legislators to reject a bill that would repeal the state's marriage equality law, and that the state's motto 'Live Free or Die' applies to marriage equality.

MehlmanWrites Mehlman:

Allowing New Hampshire citizens to marry the person they love isn’t just consistent with maximizing freedom. It also promotes responsibility, commitment and stability; it promotes family values. Again, our history provides a good road map: One of our party’s finest hours was the passage of welfare reform because it strengthened families and promoted marriage. Why would we want to take away this right from anyone?

New Hampshire’s civil marriage law protects religious freedom. No religious institution has to perform or recognize same-sex marriages. This is important because different religious traditions have different views on this question.

But despite these differences, so many of our faiths and traditions are rooted in the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would want done to you. Isn’t allowing adults to marry the person they love consistent with the Golden Rule? If you were born gay (as I was), how would you feel if your state government took away this basic civil right that is available to all of your neighbors? How would you feel if you were a young person and were told by your state that the loving and stabilizing relationship you see in your mom and dad would never be available to you?

(via michael lavers at boy in bushwick)

Bipartisan Campaign: Marriage Equality Argument Should Focus on Commitment, Not Rights

A bipartisan group hopes to shift the argument in efforts to legalize same-sex marriage to one of commitment, not rights, in an effort to persuade Americans undecided on the issue, USA Today reports:

OmalleyThe "Commitment Campaign," which is spearheaded by the centrist Democrat group Third Way and will be publicly launched today, has won support from Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat; Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, an independent and former Republican; former New Jersey governor Christine Todd Whitman, a Republican; and Ken Mehlman, former chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Advocates have long made the case that legalizing marriage for gays and lesbians is a matter of equality, but those who frame the issue that way might be reinforcing a belief among many Americans in the middle on the issue that gays and lesbians want to marry for different reasons than straight couples, according to polling by Third Way and Grove Insight.

Read the campaign's plan, below:



Towleroad - Blogged