Ken Mehlman, for George W. Bush campaign manager and RNC chair came out of the closet this week. From what I can tell, nobody in the Republican camp really cared. The feeling is a little different in the gay community.
Unsurprisingly, for many gay and liberal bloggers, that’s far too little far too late. “While it’s nice that Ken has finally come out of the closet as an advocate, it’s really hard to forgive him for the damage he did to the community by working actively against it for pay for years,” writes Pam Spaulding of Pam’s House Blend. “That he can coast on the gains for our community by supporting AFER’s stellar work on Prop 8 on the backs of many during his tenure at the RNC who bore the brunt of homophobia, those who died as a result of hate crimes, the activists who were assailed professionally is unbelievable. Yet here we are in 2010 watching it unfold. As a human being Mehlman owes the community a serious apology for fomenting homophobia for political gain.”
What I appreciate about the discussion is that Mehlman is not automatically forgiven because of his announcement. Unlike the born again mindset of Christians, Mehlman has some explaining to do. It’s is a principle I hold dear; judge a person by what they do, not by what they say. Mehlman fought against gay rights for years. He can make up for his mistakes by fighting for those same rights. Who knows, after a few years and some significant achievements, he might redeem himself.