side effects of the drug

Kenneth Mehlman was interviewed last week by Thomas Roberts on MSNBC and discussed the marriage equality cases pending at the Supreme Court.  He discussed his own experience at the hearings, his experience on the board of AFER, and the cautiousness of the justices on the Supreme Court.  Ken Mehlman pulled on his own experience as a lawyer to answer questions about how the legal case is being presented and what might happen in the next couple weeks.

Watch the entire piece, and read the first part of the interview below.


Video transcript:

Thomas Roberts: And our special guest at the top of the hour, former RNC Chairman Ken, Mehlman, Richard Socarides former president of Equality Matters, and openly gay Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline. Gentlemen, great to have you hear, but I want to start with our exclusive interview with Ken Mehlman, former RNC Chair, former campaign manager for George W. Bush’s ’04 campaign. And Ken you publically came out in 2010.

Ken Mehlman: I did.

Thomas Roberts: It’s been written about you, that you are the highest profile gay republican in American history. It just crossed the wires from Reuters saying that, the US Supreme court, who is hearing the oral arguments right now, it’s saying that conservatives justices are troubled by the Obama Administration’s refusal to defend the marriage law. As a lawyer, how do you interpret whats coming out of the court right now?

Ken Mehlman: Well I was actually in the hearings yesterday, in the oral arguments, I’m on the board of AFER. Which is the organization that brought the proposition law suit with Ted Olsen and David Boies. What I saw yesterday were justices that were taking a very serious issue very seriously. They were asking a lot of very touch questions to all three of the council that were appearing before them. They recognized the enormity of what they were dealing with. What was interesting to me though, was that you heard from all sides two things that I think are really important. One was how important the issue of marriage is, how central it is to an individual, as a person to their freedom, to their essence. As Ted Olsen said it is the single most important relationship you have. And the second thing was the fundamental nature of that right, which in my judgment and in our judgment, the constitution ought to protect.

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.