Mehlman: Time for GOP to support gay marriage
December 10th, 2010
03:14 PM ET
12 years ago

Mehlman: Time for GOP to support gay marriage

(CNN) – Ken Mehlman, the former Republican National Committee Chairman who last summer announced he was gay, says it's time the GOP publicly support same-sex marriage.

Mehlman's new position – once all but unthinkable from the man who ran former President George Bush's 2004 reelection bid – comes more than three months after he shocked many in Washington with his announcement.

But in an interview with the website The Big Think, Mehlman says he has come to believe that supporting gay rights is a logical extension of the principles the GOP seeks to advance.

"I do hope the Republican Party in the future, will look in the mirror and leaders in the party will think about where we stand and say, 'You know what? The party of Lincoln ought to be about letting adults who love each other to be married.' And the party of Lincoln ought to be about giving people more personal freedom," Mehlman told the website, in remarks published Friday.

The position is clearly at odds with the platform of the party Mehlman once ran, and is directly contrary to Bush's 2004 stance in support of a constitutional ban on gay marriage – a factor that was key in energizing social conservatives that year.

But now Mehlman – who is a managing director at the private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts – said his goal is to convince fellow Republicans to change their mind on the issue, as he has.

"I hope that people like myself and others can try to persuade people in the Republican Party that if you think about some pretty important issues that we all believe in, whether it's freedom, whether it's, frankly, the value of community, that on issues like, for example, the freedom to marry, the right to marry, it's consistent with the Republican philosophy," he said.

Mehlman's announcement that he is gay received mixed feelings from members of the gay community last August – with some praising the top GOP operative as courageous conservative as others declared he was a shameful hypocrite for helping to advance an anti-gay agenda for years.

Filed under: Ken Mehlman
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Dave in Nevada

    Oh you bet, and the most uttered phrase heard around Republican circles to to this notion?????? "WHEN PIGS FLY"

    December 10, 2010 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  2. Brian

    He is a hypocrite and needs to keep his opinion to himself. When he had the opportunity to speak up, he spoke against. Shut up and go back in the closet!

    December 10, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  3. CitizenJP

    Are there republican gays or are all gays democrats?

    December 10, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  4. Rick James B----

    He hid himself in the closet while on the Bush Campaign and said nothing. Now he's all about gay rights, well I'll tell him that he's backing the wrong party....good luck trying to convience the bilble thumpin GOP.

    December 10, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  5. Duck Fallas

    I'm more interested in Larry Bud's opinion.

    December 10, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  6. ProudIndependent

    Yeah Mehlman, too little too late. If you were a REAL man (gay or straight) you would have spoken up when your opinion may have mattered. Not impressed. Go back in the closet. No one cares about your two cents now.

    December 10, 2010 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  7. T'sah from Virginia

    PLEASE – we can't even get DADT passed and it's a known fact there are GAYS in the Armed Services!!!!

    Just because ONE RepubliCAN'T gets the nerve to speak about GAY MARRIAGE and its approval, it's now OKAY????? All are going to JUMP because he said JUMP? Good Luck with that!!

    December 10, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  8. Readbetweenthelines

    CitizenCJ – your comment is funny only because of all the "outings" of gay GOP politicians. Not sure there is enough spaces to include all the names, but lets start with those that fought guy rights so fervently only to have it known that they too were taking it from behind. Larry Craig, David Dreir, Jim Mcreary, and the list goes on. I bet Rush and Beck are next, or will you be next Citizen CJ???????

    December 10, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  9. Bill in California

    Thank GOD there is still a party of accountability and responsibility in our polital system. Just because a small percentage of the population cries foul when their perverse desires aren't recognized universally doesn't mean that the Republicans should change their platform or standards to accomodate them. And you don't have to be a 'Bible thumper' to recognize that some things just weren't meant to be.

    December 10, 2010 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  10. rs

    Bill- Which party is that? Certainly not the Republicans, they want to bury us all in debt so they can give 2% of Americans an obscene tax cut!

    December 10, 2010 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  11. D. Bunker

    I'm guessing there's a ton more GOBPbaggers living in the closet. It must get crowded in there!

    December 10, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  12. Bill

    Allowing gays and lesbos to marry, allowing them to adopt chldren, is a precursor to making everything Catholic priests do to children legal. Carefull what you wish for. But then if that is the lifestyle you desire, have at it.

    December 10, 2010 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  13. matt

    This guy is a piece of work. He makes me sick. And he's got a long wait if he expects republicans to ever welcome gays into their little boys cllub. Not gonna happen. When you have a party whose luminaries consistently categorize gays with child molesters, polygamists, practicers of bestiality, and all manner of perversions.....he expects acceptance? How he could work with, and help "elect" Bush in the first place shows me exactly how much character he has. I never thought I'd say this, but this space would have been better if it was another Sarah Palin story. Please don't give this scumbag any more facetime. he's the worst kind of hyopcrite. he's the kid who set the hosue on fire then cried that his teddy bear was burned to a crisp.

    December 10, 2010 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  14. Peter E

    Marriage is a religious institution. I am sure republicans agree with that. As a religious institution, the First Amendment forbids government interfering in it. No conservative church should be forced to recognize gay marriage, and no liberal church should be forbidden to marry gay couples either. It's a difference of religion, and we are the country that champions religious tolerance!

    December 10, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  15. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Yes, I'm sure God forbids gay marriage, as it is written in Leviticus! Guess what, Leviticus also mandates a ton of other religious observations and moral conduct that American christians don't keep to. Did you know that any disobedient child should be put to death according to the WORD of God? And polygamy is allowed in the Bible? Oh, and btw, Leviticus also forbids you eating pork!

    December 10, 2010 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  16. Bill in California

    @rs There is no tax cut. The higher income population will retain their current rate of taxation. Just the same as the rest of the American taxpayers. Just because my neighbor has a nicer car than I doesn't make it right for me to slash his tires, upper 2% or not.

    December 10, 2010 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  17. Marty, FL

    Considering how Mehlman chaired the discriminatory assault against his own community in 2004, it is difficult to understand how his hypocrisy has any credibility now. In case Mehlman failed to notice, most of his GOP "leaders" just voted against DADT, much less marriage equality.

    This is sadly not conservatism by definition, not even close, but rather intrusive government into Americans' private lives where it has no buisness.

    December 10, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  18. Peter s

    Is this the guy who was lynching the other gays for his personal gain just the other day?

    December 10, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  19. Mad man

    Here is my question: What is the big deal between the difference of a legal civil union that each State accepts the same as marriage or a marriage license. I can only contend that marriage is of biblical origin and that homosexuals and lesbians in their search for social acceptance of their sexual preference are after forcing everyone else in America to accept their views as acceptable in the realm of Godliness. Otherwise if it were simply an equality related issue for benefits of a partner the issue is resolved...Now go bugger one another and let us all focus on more important issues of economic basis!

    December 10, 2010 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  20. Bill

    Peter E.... Slow down Peter. If you want to do some homework you will find that you will need a marriage license to get married. That document is issued by the state not the church. No state should be forced to issue one if that states voters decide they do not want same sex marriages.

    December 10, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  21. panterazero

    Sniffit: "...this is supposed to be a 'white people country...let the hispanics have south america and the black have africa...north america is suppsed to be ours'"

    actually, North AND South America are supposed to be ours. American corporations and nominally locally owned proxies control and resource flows, labor practices, and wages in most of Mexico and Central America and much of South America; throughout Central America, even the most modest increases in minimum wage have been effectively prohibited for years. The threat of labor autonomy for Central and South America is responsible for organized opposition to governments in Venezuela and Brazil. American corporations favor illegal immigration from Mexico and its adjacent countries, and so long as they do, any state or Federal attempts to restrict such immigration will be either for show, or if serious, essentially useless. It's all about the money.

    December 10, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  22. gt

    sorry , but just because you work for the gop dont mean that republicans will endorse imorale and pervered life style

    December 10, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  23. Big George in Big D

    Just because this wierdo is gay doesn't mean the entire country needs to support gay marriage. I can't think of anything more disgusting!

    December 10, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  24. gi jane

    "readbetweenthelines"...citizen was being humorous while knowing that
    there are many gay republicans. You are just another example of how
    liberals have a problem understanding what people say. That's why all
    of you have gurus to do your thinking for you. I'll bet you don't think Sarah
    Palin is HOT just because your liberal guru told you so.

    December 10, 2010 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |