Ken Mehlman recently discussed what he sees as the future of marriage equality. See below for the video, as well as a full transcript.
Question: What’s next for the marriage equality movement?
Ken Mehlman: I think that that’s an answer people like Andrew Sullivan, Evan Wolfson, Chad Griffin, and Matt Coles and others who spent years working on this question are better positioned to answer than I am. They’re the experts; I look for ways to help them when I can. From my perspectives, what I hope will happen are a couple of things.
Ken Mehlman: First, about a third of the country will live in a place where today there is marriage equality. What I think other people are going to see, is not only that things they worried about didn’t happen, but a whole lot of good things happened. I’ll tell you a story that I think to me explains this. I had the opportunity to go up to New Hampshire in 2011 when that state was considering repealing the marriage law that was passed in 2009. When the law was passed, 7 Republicans had voted for it. I went up to New Hampshire and met with a whole bunch of Republican legislature, and most who I met with said, “You know what, we actually think marriage is between a man and a women.” I asked them a question, “I understand that, but let me ask you this, would you concede that for the 1,800 families who have someone who got married under the marriage law, are their lives are better? And they said “yeah, obviously,” and I said, “Whose life got worse?” and they couldn’t answer the question. At the end of the day, we ended up with a majority, 119 Republicans of the legislatures in New Hampshire voted in favor of marriage. A majority of Republicans, from seven to a majority, how did that happen? It happened because of experience. It happened because a lot of folks had someone on their street who perhaps got married or attended a wedding, or had a brother or sister who got married. And so what we are about to have happen now is all over the country, people are going to look and they’re going to see that in New York, California, that in these other places, communities got stronger. Children had two parents to take care of them, and people had a loved one to watch out for them when they got older and they got sick unfortunately. The impact on society was to make it stronger not weaker, to enhance family values.
Ken Mehlman: So I hope as that happens, people will look and they’ll say, “that’s really interesting, that’s really important, and as a result I now support marriage.” So I think you’ll see, one in those states where it’s legal and available, people seeing what really happens. Two, then other states will make the case, will show people what’s happening in the states where marriage is available, that’s obviously important. And third, obviously there remains a significant amount of litigation that’s occurring in this space, so all of those things are occurring. But what matters most is experience, what matters most in all of this is what people see in their real lives. And what people are going to see in their real lives, I’m very confident in 30% of the country, cause what they’ve seen in the last few years, in New Hampshire, Iowa, New York, in Washington, in Maryland, in these other states, and that is that society is better off, that family values are enhanced, that freedom is promoted, and that communities are stronger because more people live in a place where they have a committed and loving partner who they can come home to, who they can raise children with, and who they can look after.