By Anna Peirano
(View infographic below)
Ken Mehlman is a republican, who came out as gay in August of 2010. Mehlman played a critical role in helping to achieve the victories won by LGBT Americans on the night of November 6th, 2012.
Mehlman, former Chair of the National Republican Party and George W. Bush’s campaign chief in 2004, raised millions in order to pass marriage equality in Washington, Maryland and Maine, and to help defeat the anti-LGBT amendment in Minnesota, according to activist David Mixner.
Mehlman is now launching a new program called “Project Right Side,” a 501c4 non-profit working to raise awareness and deepen support for marriage equality among traditional conservative republicans. The organization provides research and analysis on the issues to improve the political climate for gay and lesbian causes across the political spectrum.
The introduction to the website, taken from a guest editorial by Mehlman in the Wall Street Journal, reads:
“They say demography is destiny, and in American politics destiny has belonged to those who best aligned their core beliefs with the rapidly changing and ever-improving citizenry. Conservatives—and I count myself as one—succeed when we attract new supporters to timeless traditions. The Republican Party’s loss in this month’s presidential election resulted partly from its failure to embrace some of America’s fastest-growing constituencies. One area of significant change is in attitudes toward legal equality for gay Americans.”
Mehlman continues in the WSJ:
“Conservatives don’t need to change core convictions to embrace the growing support for equal rights for gay Americans. It is sufficient to recognize the inherent conservatism in citizens’ desire to marry, to be judged on their work, and not to be singled out for higher taxes or bullying at school. These objectives can be achieved while also protecting religious liberty, as demonstrated by states enacting civil marriage with exemptions for religious institutions.
To help Republicans appreciate this changing environment, I helped establish Project Right Side, which commissioned leading GOP polling firm Target Point to survey 16,000 voters over the past year, over-sampling Republican and swing voters in battleground states, including 2,000 such voters on Election Night.”
An original article from 2010 in The Atlantic details Mehlman’s coming out process. You can view the article here.
You can follow Project Right Side on Twitter at @ProjRightSide, and find them on Facebook here.
Below is an infographic to be found on the Project Right Side website.