During his time as George W Bush’s campaign manager and afterwards as chairman of the Republican National Committee, Ken Mehlman helped 21 states pass laws that banned same-sex marriage and helped lead the assault on the LGBT community by Republicans
In August 2010 Mehlman came out of the closet and confessed he was gay (a well known fact in DC and no surprise to beltway insiders) and sensing money and some political clout the HRC immediately embraced Mehlman with Joe Solmonese stating: “The past is the past. We certainly don’t have the luxury at this point in our movement to turn away any offer of help.” and HRC spokesman Michael Cole Schwartz adding: ““What’s important is that Ken has joined the fight and is willing to lend his considerable talent and influence to advance equality. While the past cannot be overlooked, our future is far more important and with more and more people like Ken joining our movement, that future holds great promise.”-
But while the HRC was embracing Mehlman others remembered the pain he had caused the LGBT community and his hand in destroying thousands of LGBT lives during his tenure in the GOP.
Mike Rogers, blogger, owner of Raw Story and gay rights activist in the Washington, D.C is best known for his activity in outing closeted gay politicians who actively oppose gay rights had this to say about Ken Mehlman’s “redemption”:
Can Ken Mehlman redeem himself? I want to hear from Ken that he is sorry for being the architect of the 2004 Bush reelection campaign. I want to hear from Ken that he is sorry for his role in developing strategy that resulted in George W. Bush threatening to veto ENDA or any bill containing hate crimes laws. I want to hear from Ken that he is sorry for the pressing of two Federal Marriage Amendments as political tools. I want to hear from Ken that he is sorry for developing the 72-hour strategy, using homophobic churches to become political arms of the GOP before Election Day.
And those state marriage amendments. I want to hear him apologize for every one of those, too.
And then there is one other little thing. You see, while you and I had the horrible feelings of being treated so poorly by our President, while teens were receiving the messaging ‘gay is bad’ giving them ‘permission’ to gay bash, while our rights were being stripped state by state, Ken was out there laughing all the way to the bank. So, if Ken is really sorry, and he very well may be, then all he needs to do is sell his condo and donate the funds to the causes he worked against so hard for all those years. He’s done a lot of damage to a lot of organizations, while making a lot of moeny. A LOT of money. It’s time to put his money where his mouth is. Ken Mehlman is sitting in a $3,770,000.00 (that’s $3.77 million) condo in Chelsea while we have lost our right to marry in almost 40 states.
Since Mehlman’s coming out he did indeed help New York secure same sex marriage meeting with four Republican state senators who eventually voted in favor of the bill. And afterwards as if by magic Mehlman’s years of destruction against our community was erased from view with OUT magazine even naming him one of the TOP 100 LGBT’s In America
But has Mehlman changed? REALLY? Or is he just scamming us?
A recent look at OpenSecrets.org shows that over the past year Ken Mehlman has donated over $25,000 to anti-gay GOP candidates including Marco Rubio, Peter Roskum and Orin Hatch and also the Republican National Commitee which spreads its money around to the likes of Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich.
Is Mehlman playing both sides? He must have known that many think of him as America’s most heinous homosexual, actively participating in and driving the demonetization of his own community in exchange for political applause and cold hard cash during his years with Bush and the RNC. Could his “help” after coming out be nothing more than trying to make his own life easier in the community while all the time still supporting those who are still actively trying to deny us our inalienable rights?
Is Mehlman playing both sides against the middle for his own gain?
But the bigger question is does our community actually have the integrity to call him out on it?