Ken Mehlman, former chief of the Republican National Committee and President Bush's campaign manager in 2004, has told family and friends that he is gay, The Atlantic
In an interview with the magazine, Mehlman said he's going public with his sexual identity now because he wants to become an advocate for gay marriage.
"It's taken me 43 years to get comfortable with this part of my life," Mehlman said. "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 said he plans to attend a fundraiser next month for the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), the group that supported the legal challenge to California's Proposition 8, the ballot initiative against gay marriage.
He told The Atlantic that during his time in the Republican leadership he was often conflicted as Karl Rove and the GOP pushed an anti-gay agenda.
"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," Mehlman said. "What I do regret, and think a lot about, is that one of the things I talked a lot about in politics was how I tried to expand the party into neighborhoods where the message wasn't always heard. I didn't do this in the gay community at all."
Read The Atlantic's feature on Mehlman here