Ken Mehlman, former chairman of the Republican Naitonal Committee and President Bush’s 2004 campaign manager has come out of the closet today.
“It’s taken me 43 years to get comfortable with this part of my life,” said Mehlman, now an executive vice-president with the New York City-based private equity firm, KKR. “Everybody has their own path to travel, their own journey, and for me, over the past few months, I’ve told my family, friends, former colleagues, and current colleagues, and they’ve been wonderful and supportive. The process has been something that’s made me a happier and better person. It’s something I wish I had done years ago…
…Mehlman’s leadership positions in the GOP came at a time when the party was stepping up its anti-gay activities — such as the distribution in West Virginia in 2006 of literature linking homosexuality to atheism, or the less-than-subtle, coded language in the party’s platform (“Attempts to redefine marriage in a single state or city could have serious consequences throughout the country…”). Mehlman said at the time that he could not, as an individual Republican, go against the party consensus. He was aware that Karl Rove, President Bush’s chief strategic adviser, had been working with Republicans to make sure that anti-gay initiatives and referenda would appear on November ballots in 2004 and 2006 to help Republicans.
Mehlman acknowledges that if he had publicly declared his sexuality sooner, he might have played a role in keeping the party from pushing an anti-gay agenda.
“It’s a legitimate question and one I understand,” Mehlman said. “I can’t change the fact that I wasn’t in this place personally when I was in politics, and I genuinely regret that. It was very hard, personally.” He asks of those who doubt his sincerity: “If they can’t offer support, at least offer understanding.”
More at The Atlantic
A solid night on Comedy Central last night.
- First Jon Stewart nails the issue of the NYC Mosque
“Should we build Catholic Churches next to playgrounds?”
- Then Colbert speaks on marriage equality in Mexico (and he tweeted: “Why does Mexico need gay marriage? We already have a gay Mexico– Spain.”).
Both are below. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
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The Colbert Report
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The debate around building a mosque and community center near the site of the World Trade Center and the apparent inability of a vast number of Americans to understand the 1st amendment remind me of a clip from the episode of West Wing (“Isaac and Ishmael”) that was aired following 9/11.
The analogy that Josh Lyman lies out is that Islamic Extremist is to Islamic as the KKK is to Christianity. To me, this makes sense. This is about people who are distorting faith to justify murder and terror. So, I have to wonder if anyone would oppose the construction of a christian church near the site of any KKK violence? Seems to me the South would have fewer churches today. Opponents think they are justifying their religious bigotry by wrapping themselves in the American flag, but they’re doing it by undermining our Bill of Rights.
The 9th Circuit Court has ordered Judge Walker’s ruling stayed (put on hold), but there is a bit of optimism to be taken from the ruling. The Court set deadlines for each sides’ briefs, and noted that those appealing the Prop 8 ruling must explain why the court should not just dismiss the challenge for a lack of standing:
In addition to any issues appellants wish to raise on appeal, appellants are directed to include in their opening brief a discussion of why this appeal should not be dismissed for lack of Article III standing.
I haven’t covered this yet, but it is possible that because the state of California refused to defend Prop 8 in court, and the defense was mounted by an outside party, that the 9th circuit might not hear an appeal (which would make Judge Walker final). This stems from an issue of who has standing to challenge a ruling (the “Article III” reference). It’s significant that the Court specifically requested a rebuttal to this issue from Prop 8 supporters, as it implies that they consider this to be a real issue.
A good explanation of the issue of standing is available at SCOTUSblog.
I wrote a few weeks ago about Florida’s Attorney General and candidate for Governor Bill McCollum and his stand to ban allowing gay parents to adopt. Now, he wants to ban gay couples from providing foster care. But here’s what kills me: in this attack on gay families, he also attacks single parents. This isn’t the first time that single parents are called inferior. Any claim that you need both a mother and father is insulting to millions of divorced and widowed families, and its a common refrain among conservatives who oppose marriage equality (even claiming kids of single parents are 20 times more likely to commit a crime).
I really don’t get why this hasn’t offended more people and why it’s not used in campaigns against politicians who recite these ridiculous talking points. Here’s McCollum’s response on gay foster parents (emphasis added):
Q: Should the law [allowing gay couples to serve as foster parents] be changed?
McCollum: I think that it would be advisable. I really do not think that we should have homosexuals guiding our children. I think that it’s a lifestyle that I don’t agree with. I realize a lot of people do. It’s my personal faith, religious faith, that I don’t believe that the people who do this should be raising our children. It’s not a natural thing. You need a mother and a father. You need a man and a woman. That’s what God intended.
A must-read Huffington Post article by Michelangelo Signorile highlighting the hypocrisy of the media speculating on Judge Walker’s sexual orientation, but shunning any other reports of the “open secrets” of closeted politicians. You know, like the fact that it took inappropriate IMs from former Rep. Mark Foley for the open secret of his sexuality to be reported. From Signorile’s post:
The way that the sexual orientation of Judge Vaughn Walker — the federal judge who overturned Proposition 8 last week — has been targeted and exploited by proponents of Prop 8 is not only an example of the ugly smear tactics of the theocratic thugs who call themselves Christians; it’s a testament to how easily the media is manipulated by the right into doing things about which editors and reporters claim to be staunchly opposed…
…Most [mainstream media] quoted the San Francisco Chronicle as the source, and often in the context of reporting on the attacks on Walker coming from the right-wing extremists who now claim his sexual orientation biased his decision.
So what exactly did the Chronicle say on the matter back in February? That it was an “open secret” that Walker was gay.
That’s it, folks. No sourcing of any kind — no witnesses, no former or current boyfriend, no person who Walker confided in, no comment from Walker. Just an “open secret.” Gee, there are many Hollywood celebrities and Washington politicians — Senator Lindsay Graham and Senator Mitch McConnell come to mind — about whom we’ve always heard about an “open secret,” but I don’t see the New York Times reporting on them ever.