August 25th, 2010
06:47 PM ET
12 years ago

Former Bush official says he is gay

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Former RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman has told The Atlantic he is gay."](CNN) – Former chairman of the Republican National Committee and 2004 campaign manager for President Bush's re-election, Ken Mehlman, has told The Atlantic magazine he is gay.

The article published Wednesday by The Atlantic's politics editor Marc Ambinder quotes Mehlman extensively on his experience coming out to friends and family.

"The process has been something that's made me a happier and better person. It's something I wish I had done years ago," the article quotes Mehlman as saying.

Mehlman goes on to tell Ambinder that now that he is in private life wants to be an advocate for gay marriage. He said he realized his timing – waiting until he was outside the inner power circles of the Republican Party – may have hurt the very issues he now hopes to address.

"I wish I was where I am today 20 years ago. The process of not being able to say who I am in public life was very difficult. No one else knew this except me. My family didn't know. My friends didn't know. Anyone who watched me knew I was a guy who was clearly uncomfortable with the topic," Mehlman told the publication.

Mehlman's announcement is being welcomed in the gay community.

"Poll after poll shows the most powerful thing we can do to change hearts and minds about gay issues is to come out. I applaud Ken for having the courage to take this important step. I think everyone should remember that each of us has our own personal journey as it relates to coming to terms with our own sexuality and coming out," conservative gay organization GOProud's Christopher Barron told CNN.

– CNN's Evan Glass contributed to this report

Filed under: Ken Mehlman
soundoff (94 Responses)
  1. Allen

    A former chairman of the RNC and the campaign manager for a Tea Party hero is gay?

    Talk about ironic.

    August 25, 2010 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  2. Nacho1

    Whats new? All three of the last Presidents are gay and the one before the last three was a masochist.........we are blessed.....

    August 25, 2010 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  3. Joe

    Why the admission?. Does he need special attention?, maybe a position in government that requires someone to tell their sexual preferences in advance before he get caught in a public bathroom, maybe he just got out of the closet after been caught in the closet. Nobody was asking, he should have kept his mouth shut.

    August 25, 2010 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  4. Michael

    As a gay man I find this highly offensive. Why the hell is he coming out now? Where was this proclamation in 2004 when we could have used it??

    Yes I get coming out is a personal journey ... but if he had the morality and dignity for his community he should have had he wouldn't have helped a big homophobe win a second term. He would have stepped aside 'for personal reasons.'

    August 25, 2010 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  5. Sparky

    Gay AND Republican???? that hardly EVER happens

    August 25, 2010 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  6. Doug

    Thanks hypcocrite.. While my partner and I paid taxes on my employers heathcare plan , you fought against us.. Now that you need money, you decide to use us to further your self loath.. How nice.. I would never expect anything any different from a republican.. Hypocrite !!!

    August 25, 2010 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  7. Ryan

    Good for him? It doesn't bother me.

    August 25, 2010 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  8. Ann in Ohio

    Not a big surprise, half of the popluation already knew this. To bad he didn't try to change policy when he had some power, to little to late. Move along, no big story headline here.

    August 25, 2010 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  9. Fox viewer

    Jeez CNN; Bush has been gone over 11/2 years! Who cares now! Evidently desperate libs!

    August 25, 2010 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  10. Riley

    Good for him, but, to me, it's a non-issue. Gay or straight, who really cares these days.

    What's truly important is the horrible job Obama is doing as president.

    August 25, 2010 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  11. morris diehl

    So whats the big deal, now I know why the republicants like to look into everyones bedroom. I bet the only one who really is gay is Palin, she doesn't know what she is and even if she did she would come out against it.

    August 25, 2010 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  12. Libertyman13

    Yes, Mr. Mehlman, remember all those initiatives that the Bush campaign, and, well, YOU got on the ballots in 2004? The ones banning gay marriage? I am just very confused how you could have been cool with that. Oh, and the election of dozens of politicians who constantly bash and badmouth homosexuals in this country, which you helped to orchestrate? Did you ever get a bad taste in your mouth from that?

    August 25, 2010 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  13. Rich

    Oh Pleaaaze...It took him his entire life to admit he likes men?! What a hipocrite. He spent his professional career working for policies against gays & lesbians all the while he was a flaming homosexual. Now that he has no doubt found a boyfriend, all of sudden he has gotten religion and believes in gay marriage to the point he want's to advocate for it. I tell you, hollywood cannot make this stuff up. Only Republicans can.

    August 25, 2010 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  14. Brice

    Why do we care?

    August 25, 2010 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  15. John

    A gay republican. ! It is a surprise!

    August 25, 2010 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  16. T'SAH from Virginia

    There are a lot of GAY RepubliCAN'Ts – they just want you to THINK they are more 'Holier than Thou' and so RIGHTEOUS!!!

    August 25, 2010 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  17. news maker

    who cares?

    The issue of sexuality is so over done. Was it just a slow news day?

    August 25, 2010 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  18. Chris

    What?!?! Next thing you know, they'll tell us Ricky Martin is gay too.

    August 25, 2010 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  19. jimbo

    I applaud him as well. I am looking for that courage as well. Been married 25 years and playing the straight life because of all the hate and prejudice I would face to come out. People are so ignorant when they think being gay is a choice. I have done everthing humanly and spiritually possible not to be gay, but I still am.

    August 25, 2010 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
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