Ken Mehlman, who ran George W. Bush’s 2004 presidential campaign, has admitted that he is gay. Writing in The Atlantic, Marc Ambinder said Mehlman made the realization about his sexual identity “fairly recently.” The one-time head of the Republican National Committee told Ambinder that “Everybody has their own path to travel, their own journey” and that “family, friends, former colleagues, and current colleagues” have been “wonderful and supportive.” For Mehlman, coming out “has been something that’s made me a happier and better person.” He said he wished he’d come out “years ago.”
Mehlman also addressed his place in a Republican Party that has in recent years ramped up anti-gay measures: “I can’t change the fact that I wasn’t in this place personally when I was in politics, and I genuinely regret that.”
Mehlman has made quiet, apparently sincere efforts to work in favor of causes the party he once headed still opposes:
Chad Griffin, the California-based political strategist who organized opposition to Proposition 8, said that Mehlman’s quiet contributions to the American Foundation for Equal Rights are “tremendous,” adding that “when we achieve equal equality, he will be one of the people to thank for it.” Mehlman has become a de facto strategist for the group, and he has opened up his rolodex — recruiting, as co-hosts for the AFER fundraiser: Paul Singer, a major Republican donor, hedge fund executive, and the president of the Manhattan Institute; Benjamin Ginsberg, one of the GOP’s top lawyers; Michael Toner, a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission; and two former GOP governors, William Weld of Massachusetts and Christie Todd Whitman of New Jersey.
Mehlman now lives in what Ambinder calls the “gay Mecca” of Chelsea but past admitting his homosexuality, he refused to discuss his personal life.
Another former head of the RNC, Ed Gillespie, said that in spite of Mehlman’s admission and pro-gay sentiments expressed by other leading Republicans, he does not foresee any changes in the current Republican Party platform where policies affecting homosexuals are concerned.