August 25th, 2010
06:47 PM ET
11 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. jim

    Well, i'm certainly glad to know that he's happy !!!

    August 25, 2010 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  2. Augsbee

    Like people couldn't tell he was gay???? Please, he now blames the Republicans for keeping it a secret???? I think it was more out of fear of his family and friends rejecting him. I come from a very strong Democrat family, gay is not welcomed among most of my relatives so if he's saying Democrats are okay with gays he's fooling himself.

    August 25, 2010 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  3. rusty lawson

    No suprise in this a shame they must hide it

    August 25, 2010 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  4. Len Smith

    Always thought as much, but so what.

    August 25, 2010 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  5. guest123

    I just can't understand why he would devote himself to a group that doesn't believe he has any right to even exist as a human being. I just don't get that.

    Sure you can agree with them on policy matters but THEY DON'T BELIEVE YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO EXIST. How can that not trump everything else?

    August 25, 2010 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  6. Tony on the River

    What a hypocrite!

    August 25, 2010 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  7. USA 1

    A little late to help your cause aren't you? You could have explained to Bush why he was wrong, he might have listened and changed his mind. He could have become one of the greatest Presidents in history! He would have freed gays and lesbians from the bigotry and discrimination and ensure a positive Presidential legacy that would have lasted until the end of this Nation…

    August 25, 2010 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  8. MikeH

    Old news CNN.

    Bill Maher outed Ken Mehlman on the Larry King show almost three years ago.

    Of course after the original live broadcast with Maher's outing of Ken, CNN censored the repeat shows deleting Maher's outing of Ken.

    August 25, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  9. colowest

    I have one question - how can ANY female or member of ANY minority - LGBT, black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, etc. - be a Repuglican, vote for a Repuglican, or in any way whatsoever be associated with the Repuglican/Flea Party? It's like taking out the trusty 9-mm, loading it, and taking careful aim at your foot every single election day. Why on Earth vote against yourselves time after time after time??

    Unless you're in the top 2%, of course, to the GOBP the only minority that counts.

    August 25, 2010 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  10. Kyle

    Nobody knew??? What were they.. headless? Look at him....

    August 25, 2010 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  11. andrey

    who cares if he's gay or not, he's still a scumbag.

    August 25, 2010 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  12. Kevin H

    So does this make all the anti-gay policies of the Bush years – hypocritical or does it make the pot calling the kettle black?

    August 25, 2010 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  13. saftgek

    Two comments on this story:

    1) Mr. Mehlman announcing he is homosexual is not news. His being homosexual was glaringly apparent.

    2) Mr. Mehlman is NOT "gay." That term is used by those who practice homosexuality, and by those who advocate for the practice of homosexuality. It is a whitewash of the practice of homosexuality, likely because those who practice it and those who advocate for it, know it is an abomination and against natural law.

    CNN could better use their web space than with this type of story.

    August 25, 2010 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  14. bailoutsos

    "Former Bush official says he is gay" -- So is baby Bush. What's the big deal?

    August 25, 2010 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  15. Sick&TiredOfTheGOP

    When I read the title of this article, I thought Karl Rove had finally come out of the closet. LOL

    August 25, 2010 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  16. andrewstl

    note to gop

    scratch ken from list of people who will scare country on homosexaul issues

    also do a better job of getting a grip on who runs gop we lose a lot of credibilty with hillbillies and most of our party when a homo is the chairman

    note to ken welcome to the dem party

    August 25, 2010 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  17. Limbaugh is a Liberal

    And this is news to whom? Republicans are full of gay people. There are more gay republicans in Congress than gay democrats, the difference being that republicans are more closeted. It is the very discrimination against them that pushes them into the republicans, having to hide their sexuality by advocating against other gay people. And yet one by one they all come out. I will not be surprised if within a few years Rick 'homosexuality-is-nazi-bestiality' Santorum will come out too. The louder they are against it, the more likely they are one.

    August 25, 2010 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  18. ThinkAgain

    I'm happy for Mr. Mehlman that he can now be openly honest about who he is!

    For the life of me, though, I don't understand how he can be a Republican (just like I don't understand my gay Republican friends and family members), given its opposition – in some far-right Repub religious circles, violent, hateful opposition – to gay rights.

    Hopefully, Mr. Mehlman's next announcement will be he's now a registered Democrat! (We're a much more reasonable bunch.)

    August 25, 2010 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  19. Peter E

    I wonder what Foxnews will say about this. Oh right, they will just ACCIDENTALLY start labeling him a democrat.

    August 25, 2010 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  20. MikeB59

    There was a joke in Washington that if the RNC had an alcoholic beverage license, it would be the biggest gay bar in DC.

    August 25, 2010 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  21. Generik

    I find it funny how many Republicans are turning out to be gay. Yet they are the ones who so firmly want to keep equal rights away from gay Americans.

    August 25, 2010 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  22. dick delson

    so he's gay. no one cares except right wing idiots like O'Reilly, Sarah (The Bimbo) Palin) etc.

    August 25, 2010 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  23. charlie from the North

    Congrats on figuring out who you are. I sure bet, now that you are an advocate of marriage equity that you really regret helping the guy who put Roberts and Alito on the court. That one is coming back to bite you but the past is the past. Are you planning on staying a GOPer or joining the party that cares about your right to marriage.

    August 25, 2010 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  24. Dan, TX

    Conservatives, this man is one of your leaders. Don't you think it is time to embrace gay men?

    August 25, 2010 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  25. Greggy V

    Ken Mehlman gay? DUHHH!!!!!

    August 25, 2010 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
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