As word spread that former Republican National Committee chairman and George W. Bush aide Ken Mehlman had decided to stop living in the closet, pundits, activists, journalists, and even "Jesus Christ" sounded off on Twitter, their blogs, or network news. The following is a roundup of reactions illustrating the complex coming-out of Ken Mehlman. BlogActive Writer Mike Rogers
"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 away 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 money. 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."
Dustin Lance Black, Academy Award-winning screenwriter and American Foundation for Equal Rights board member
"Ken represents an incredible coup for the American Foundation for Equal Rights. We believe that our mission of equal rights under the law is one that should resonate with every American. As a victorious former presidential campaign manager and head of the Republican Party, Ken has the proven experience and expertise to help us communicate with people across each of the 50 states."
Columnist and radio host Michelangelo Signorile
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/v/WApEHhYgDeA?fs=1&hl=en_US expand=1 site_id=25879312]National Organization for Marriage leader Maggie Gallagher
respect Ken Mehlman's right to his personal life. Supporting gay
marriage, however, is a very different and very public matter. The
fight over same-sex marriage really isn't about Mr. Mehlman's personal
life. Marriage, as a public legal status, is a man and a woman for a
reason: It is the only civil institution that brings together the two
halves of humanity to ensure the children they create have the best
opportunity to be raised by their own mother and father. We will fight
all attempts to redefine marriage to be something that it is not -- a
genderless, adult-centered sexual relationship centered on the alleged
rights of adults and not the needs of children. The American people --
including over 80% of Republicans and even 40% of Democrats -- oppose
same-sex marriage. NOM has already proven in races from New York to
California that it is a particularly bad idea for Republicans to
support gay marriage. The disconnect in Washington stems from
politicans who refuse to pay attention to the values of the people they
represent. If Mr. Mehlman wishes to help us elect pro-marriage GOP
politicians, we welcome his support. If not, we welcome the victories
that will come in the battle that must necessarily ensue."Log Cabin Republicans executive director R. Clarke Cooper
"Log Cabin Republicans is very supportive and appreciative of Ken's coming-out. Being gay and being conservative are not mutually exclusive. As a fellow Bush alumnus, I also look forward to Ken helping me and our colleagues build a stronger and more inclusive Republican Party. Nothing presents a better argument for the equality of gay and lesbian citizens than the reality of our lives as responsible members of society. I am happy that Ken has come to a place where he can take a stand with integrity, and I welcome him as yet another conservative, common-sense voice to join with Log Cabin Republicans and all Americans in this important dialogue."Republican National Committee chairmanMichael Steele "I am happy for Ken. His announcement, often a very difficult decision which is only compounded when done on the public stage, reaffirms for me why we are friends and why I respect him personally and professionally."Illinois Family Institute's Laurie Higgins (via Americans for Truth About Homosexuality) "So, Steele is 'happy' that Mehlman is homosexual and/or happy that he is public about it? Why would he be happy for a friend embracing immoral and dangerous practices or for a friend being public about his embrace of immorality? And why does he respect him for his 'difficult' decision to announce his immorality publicly? What fecklessness or cowardice Steele's comment demonstrates. And this from the leader of the Republican Party."Americans for Truth About Homosexuality president Peter LaBarbera "Homosexuals have the complete freedom to compete in the battle for control of the Republican Party, but they shouldn't do so in secret. Republicans deserved a party chairman who was really working to defend traditional marriage, not a fake conservative like Mehlman who, as a covert 'gay' activist, was actually working to undermine it."Cenk Uygur says "Apology Not Accepted" on MSNBC
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Marc Ambinder, who broke the story on Mehlman's sexual orientation forThe Atlantic
"I would have reported it because he was in power at a time when the Republican Party was whipping up antigay sentiment to get votes. I'm very squeamish about outing anyone. That squeamishness certainly would have gone into the equation. But there would have been a clear and compelling reason. Even though outing would have encroached on his personal dignity, which would have made me uncomfortable, it would have been the right thing to do to hold someone in power accountable."
"'Why is this news?' some of u are asking. Bc Mehlman helped push opposition to same-sex marriage as a major political issue."
Talking Points Memo's Christina Bellantoni
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Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart "Give Ken Mehlman a break! There, I said it. ... The journey out of the closet is never easy and rarely comfortable. Its duration is different for each man and woman who takes it. As are the circumstances that allow or force them to come to terms with who they are. Not everyone can have the experience a friend of mine had when he told his mother he was gay. 'Let's go shopping,' she exclaimed! For that intensely personal journey, respect is owed.""Jesus Christ" on Twitter
"Don't worry Ken Mehlman, God won't send you to Hell for being gay. He'll send you to Hell for being an ass hole."TV personality Dave Holmes "I'd love to congratulate Ken Mehlman, but I'm going to wait until polling indicates that it would be politically viable for me to do so."