The Internet Processes Its ‘Ken Mehlman is Gay’ Feelings

We announced on Thursday former RNC chairman Ken Mehlman’s official homosexuality, which he shared at a press conference that caught everyone’s attention despite the fact that he hasn’t been particularly active in the Republican party since 2007. That particular post was pretty light on the reflection and analysis, as we judiciously chose to deliver this news to you sooner rather than later and forgo researching Mehlman’s fourth-grade crushes. In the 48 hours following, however, everyone on the internet has had time to sit back and ponder what this all means, and have presented their arguments. Are you ready for the roundup?

+ The Daily Beast says that Mehlman’s coming out is only a chip in the Great Wall of Republicans’ Opposition To Gay Issues. They also have a really interesting little retrospective on babygay Mehlman’s growth within conservatism. That year Ken Mehlman was 12 years old, and already a committed Reaganite who, a few years later, would become a devoted volunteer in Republican campaigns in his native Maryland. Decades later, as RNC chairman, Mehlman served as one of the architects of George W. Bush’s 2004 reelection effort. Part of the effort was built around a series of ballot initiatives that sought to ban same-sex marriages. In conversations with Ambinder, Mehlman claims to have resisted this tendency, and to have made the case for civil unions and a more inclusive approach. But unlike his hero Ronald Reagan, he was unwilling to take a public stance that might jeopardize President Bush’s reelection, or, more cynically, his prominence in Republican circles. (@dailybeast)

+ Mehlman’s coming out was cool and I’mma let you finish but he’s no Rosie: “Rosie O’Donnell avoided any apology in her public declaration. “I’m a dyke!” she proclaimed at a stand-up show. “I don’t know why people make such a big deal about the gay thing.” (@dailybeast)

+ Gays and liberals aren’t willing to overlook Mehlman’s support of George W. and welcome him into the fold. If you can’t make it through the article’s borderline-derisive use of the word “blogger,” just read this: “Joe Jevris, a gay activist and blogger, compared Mehlman to Roy Cohn, a lawyer who remained in the closet but joined Sen. Joseph McCarthy in targeting gays in the 1950s.”Gee thanks,” Jervis seethed. “That’s like offering to help rebuild a house when YOU were the f—er that helped BURN IT DOWN.” Activist blogger Mike Rogers wants an apology from Mehlman, the Atlantic reported. Rogers called the campaign manager “horridly homophobic.” “I want to hear from Ken that he is sorry for being the architect of the 2004 Bush reelection campaign.” (@nydaily)

+ Has Ken Mehlman ever had sex? Why are we wondering this? Have we finally reached the point where life imitates Judd Apatow movies? (@gawker)

+ Ken Mehlman has already done “the most important thing he can do” for gay rights by coming out. GOProud’s position is roughly THANK GOD FOR KEN MEHLMAN, LET’S PUT HIS NAME ON THE SIDE OF A BLIMP AND HUG. (@joemygod)

WALKER:

Speaking of famous people who are out or maybe not, we’re still not done with the Prop 8 trial, which means we’re still not done talking about Judge Walker’s gayness. Today the LA Times wonders about the widespread reporting on Walker’s homosexuality – even if it was true, was it ethical journalism? Judge Walker himself has never announced to the media that he’s gay; when the stakes are this high, is it okay to rely on word of mouth as fact? “In the coverage of this story, many news outlets — including The Times — have reported that Walker is gay. Some, such as the New York Times, attributed this fact to “published reports.” But the Los Angeles Times, among others, has not cited a source for this information. In the wake of these reports, readers have called and e-mailed with the same fundamental questions: How does The Times know Judge Walker is gay? And why is it relevant?” (@latimes)

PRIMARY RATINGS:

The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance has released their ratings for the primary candidates for the September 14th primaries in Washington, DC. If you live in the area, 1) don’t forget to vote and 2) think about checking this out beforehand! (@glaa)

RED STATES:

The interesting social discrepancies that arise from our political affiliations – like the fact that “red states” consume more porn than blue ones – always fascinate us, and the new book Red Families, Blue Families is no exception. It examines the fact that “pro-family” social conservatives have high divorce rates, sometimes higher than their liberal counterparts, and explores some possible reasons. “What started us in looking at this was that as we watched the ’04 election and we saw the moral values commentary unfolding, we looked at the polling and divorce statistics. So our first “ah ha” moment was looking at the correlation between divorce rates and family characteristics and how likely a state was to vote red or blue. As we probed further, we saw an amazing congruence between how a state voted and their divorce rate.” (@boingboing) (@bookslut)

GAY JAMES BOND:

British spy Gareth Williams was mysteriously murdered, and in a soap opera-esque twist the murderer seemed determined to make the crime look as gay as possible. “Police sources believe one theory is the spy’s killer may have planted a trail of clues to make it seem as though he was murdered by a gay lover.” Those clues include what the Daily Mail adorably calls “the phone numbers of gay escort men,” found in his flat.” (@awl)

DADT:

I’m going to let Melissa at Shakesville take this one, because she describes this video that the Family Research Council made to protest the idea of a DADT repeal better than I could: “The Family Research Council is running a new ad voicing their opposition to the repeal of DADT. There are a lot of things to love about it, but I think my favorite part is the implication that there have never been, and are currently not, any gay servicemembers. Which, were that true, would render DADT unnecessary, anyway—now, wouldn’t it? Of course, logic is not one of the qualities for which members of the Family Research Council are generally known.”

Rachel is Autostraddle's Managing Editor and the editor who presides over news & politics coverage. Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1080 articles for us.

12 Comments

  1. i’m still processing my feelings so i don’t have much to say other than i would wash judge walker’s dogs, straight or gay. is that a euphemism? i have no idea…

  2. I love myself. I love all others. I accept myself. I accept all others. I know that Republicans can be gay, too. I love and accept all gay Republicans as I love and accept myself. The “check engine” light is my friend. I love my boss. He is a very talented, non-misogynist person. My bank account is not in the negative. I really do love and accept all others. All the time. Just all the time. I love myself. I love all others. I accept myself. I accept all others. I know that Republicans can be gay, too. I love and accept all gay Republicans as I love and accept myself…

  3. The porn bit is truly strange. My dad and I drove 10 hours across Pennsyl[vania/tucky], West Virginia, and southeastern O-hi-ya and after the first 15 adult marts, I lost count.

    In other news, my dad invariably calls West Virginia “wet vagina.”

  4. I have NEVER told a lie. I have NEVER denied I was gay, to anyone, ever. I have NEVER argued for what I wanted and then given in, knowing I wouldn’t win. I have NEVER seen the error of my ways. If only that were true. I find it hard to accept that all of the people who are so vehemently arguing Ken Mehlman is a bad man have lived perfect lives. Coming out in his world (after all he came out of his own volition, he wasn’t forced out by a scandal) should be celebrated by all in the LGBT community and let his actions from now on determine how he is viewed.

    I have followed the Prop 8 trial pretty extensively and I first read Judge Walker was gay on a gay blogger site..just sayin’. Sometimes it’s our own community that makes a person’s gayness an issue when it really isn’t.

  5. What’s really interesting is how the media handled Ken Mehlman vs Judge Walker. The media covered up that Ken Mehman was gay…and I mean actually deleted parts of interviews where people said it in 2006. CNN deleted a part where Bill Maher said it on Larry King Live, and MSBNC deleted a part where Rachel Maddow said it on Tucker Carlson’s show. Everyone knew Ken Mehlman was gay, but the mainstream press hid it for him. It was blogged about, but it wasn’t picked up by mainstream press.

    So, apparently the rule is, help closet gays working against gay rights, and out gays who do something for gay rights.

    A lot of gay guys see Mehlman as that sort of closeted gay that kicked the crap out of the flamey gay kids in school that couldn’t hide that they were gay. We have a privilege gap between gays who were never able to hide their gayness and gays who could, did, and bashed the out gays as part of their cover.

    It’s the wrong message to send to say you can work against gay rights as much as you want, but we’ll still love an accept you in the end. No, if you’re gay then you have even more responsibility to not work against gay rights. I can’t continue hating him, but I hate what he helped do…I hate it a lot…it and was wrong and he needs to atone.

  6. I for one can’t get past his history of voting against gay rights. These are the people we need advocating for us the MOST. I think a better example of a politician we should look up to is Christine Quinn, an open lesbian in the NYC City Council. She’s an open and honest politician, fighting for your rights! http://ourscenetv.com/main/show/id/431

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