Ken Mehlman was featured today in the New Yorker, as the organizer of a recent amicus brief to the Supreme Court regarding the Proposition 8 case. This brief featured dozens of leading Republicans including Jon Huntsman, Meg Whitman, Ken Duberstein, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and others, all stating that they supported a Constitutional right to same-sex marriage.
This landmark brief comes two days before the Obama Administration must decide if it is going to file a similar brief, and in one of the most high-profile Supreme Court cases of the year has drawn quite a bit of attention. The New Yorker went on to explain just how important it was that Ken Mehlman was the one who helped to organize it.
“It’s not just that Ken Mehlman is a prominent Republican, which makes him an important asset to—and, now, organizer in—the gay-rights movement; it’s that he is one of the smartest political operatives anywhere in the country right now, and that he understands better than perhaps anyone how moderate and persuadable Republicans think. These are the very people the gay-rights movement is now trying to speak to. As Mehlman told the Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg, “We are trying to say to the Court that we are judicial and political conservatives, and it is consistent with our values and philosophy for you to overturn Proposition 8.”
Richard Socarides, author of the New Yorker piece, also discussed his personal experiences with Kenneth Mehlman. The summer that he came out, he met with Mehlman and discussed what steps he would be taking. Socarides remembers that “he told me that while he wanted to be an advocate and work for change and greater acceptance, he thought that he should first spend some time listening and learning.”
Socarides also detailed some of the work that Mehlman has done since that period of listening and learning, including being on the board of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, working with the New York based Freedom to Marry, and his advocacy in working for marriage equality in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington State.
Read the full piece, Ken Mehlman’s Gay Marriage Mission, at the New Yorker.