It's been a long, strange road for Ken Mehlman, the George W. Bush campaign strategist and former chairman of the Republican National Committee. Last year he came out of the closet. Now he's been named to the Out 100 and it seems all his work against gay Americans has been forgiven. Oh, we won't forget a gay traitor so quickly.
Every year Out magazine names the 100 most influential gay people in the culture and it's a rarefied club in the gay world. So, just what the hell is Ken Mehlman doing on the list? As the mag points out, Mehlman has spent the past year fighting for marriage equality and did a great deal of lobbying and fundraising last summer to make sure that gay marriage passed in New York.
What they don't mention is that in 2004, when he was Bush's campaign manager, the Republicans trotted out the awful beast of gay marriage in order to get conservatives to the polls. The GOP made sure there were votes to outlaw gay marriage in 11 states that year, and it passed in each state. Bush, not coincidentally, won in nine of those states, including Ohio, the lynchpin to winning the election. That means Ken Mehlman, a gay man, made sure that his people would be robbed of the right to marry in 11 states so that his candidate would win.
Now he's out and proud and lobbying for gay marriage. Well, that is well and good, but shouldn't he have been fighting for gay marriage, oh, I don't know, when he was helping to runthe Republican party? Shouldn't he have cared how these votes were going to go before they happened rather than fighting to reverse them now that they have?
Thanks to Ken Mehlman, we need to fight even harder to achieve marriage equality in all 50 states. Good thing he's going to help, because it's going to take a lot of extra work to reach that goal, in part due to his handiwork. At the time I was working at the Washington Blade the country's oldest and largest gay newspaper and we tried like hell to find proof of the gay rumors so that we could out the bastard while he was still in power. We never got the chance, and he came out himself in 2010.
As gay blogger Joe My God points out, it's as if Out is forgetting all of that bad business in order to deify him. I don't fault Out for adding him to the list. He is influential (he influenced gay couples to be second class citizens in 11 states!) and is controversial, which will certainly sell some issues or at least get them some attention. That's a strategy I use all the time!
But we have to do something to punish Mr. Mehlman for all he's done while still giving him credit for his accomplishments. I have a suggestion. As of this day, every gay man in the world (or at least America) should pledge that they will never sleep with Ken Mehlman. No kissing, no touching, no handies in the bathroom at a Log Cabin convention. Nothing! Yes, he is allowed to be gay and to fight for gay civil rights, but for his past sins, he should be rendered completely celibate. You can date him, you can go to parties with him, and you can invite him to your fundraisers, but don't you so much as dare do anything below the belt.
Oh, and if you're making your living on Rentboy.com and Ken Mehlman comes a calling, please say no. You can even call me up and I will pay the money that you would have made from him. That is how dedicated I am to making sure that, no matter what he does, Mr. Mehlman misses out on one of the integral parts of being an openly gay man. Ken Mehlman will never get laid again. That's one small political stance every gay man in America can make. Let's make sure that even if he has the right, Ken Mehlman can never get gay married. You turned your backs on the country's gay population in public, and now we're going to turn our backs on you in private. This is the price all traitors should pay—a long, lonely life of frustrated misery.
[Image at left via Out. Image at right via Getty]