Ken Mehlman, a private equity executive in Manhattan is working to convince Republicans that gay marriage is consistent with conservative values.
Coming out “has been a little bit like the Tom Sawyer funeral, where you show up at your own funeral and you hear what people really think,” Mehlman stated in a recent interview at his KKR office. “A big part of one’s brain that used to worry about this issue has now been freed to worry about things that are much more productive.” With all this free time, Ken has worked all over to help legalize marriage equality.
“I have a happy life today, and I had a happy life before,” Ken Mehlman said.
John Aravosis, a gay blogger talked about how coming out is difficult, and “If you’re going to have an epiphany, do it like Mehlman.”
He has worked with the White House and President Obama, who was a classmate at Harvard Law School to help repeal the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. He has worked with Republican Ohio Senator Rob Portman and recruited Republican donors, helping to raise $4.5 million for gay causes and anti-bullying.
In Maine in 2009, voters were against same-sex marriage. Last year, Ken Mehlman helped to change up their advertising. They ended up winning. “He brought a totally fresh perspective that nobody else had, and because he was so prominent, people had to take note,” said Matt McTighe, who managed the Maine effort.
“This is not just any Republican — this is one of the single greatest successful strategists for Republicans,” Chad Griffin of the Human Rights Campaign said of Ken Mehlman. “And now he’s on our side.”