spinal tap

Former Log Cabin Chief Rich Tafel: I’m Not Forgiving Ken Mehlman

It pisses me off that people will put their ambition ahead of the truth, and then, when it’s convenient, play the gay card and hope that everybody [can] raise money and get money and then expect everybody to say, ‘Everything is great.’ … You do have to show moral courage in coming out when you work in politics. And if the message is stay ambitious, and stay in the closet, even work with anti-gay stuff, and then come out and everybody’s supposed to forgive him — I’m just not there. … I would say there are two types of people in the closet. There’s one type of people in the closet who were extremely helpful to me, and then there were the other ones who weren’t. Ken was in the very small category of people who weren’t.

—Rich Tafel (pictured), the former Log Cabin Republicans executive director (1993-2002), taking a slightly different approach on former RNC chairman Ken Mehlman coming out than LCR’s current leadership. Tafel says he met Mehlman in 2000 when he was heading to the Bush campaign and attacked Tafel for “not being supportive enough” of the then-governor.

Log Cabin Republicans is very supportive and appreciative of Ken’s coming out. Being gay and being conservative are not mutually exclusive. As a fellow Bush alumnus, I also look forward to Ken helping me and our colleagues build a stronger more inclusive Republican Party. … Ken Mehlman came out because he wanted to help the cause for marriage equality. While he could have easily just lived his life and kept his head down, Ken decided to come out and try to help the cause of marriage equality by raising money, offering strategy and providing sweat equity. He made a very sincere declaration of apology and regret for the impact of the 2004 campaign had on the gay community. The fact that it took Ken until later in life to come out is a reminder to us all that the coming out process remains a lengthy painful crucible for many people. Ken’s coming out is a welcome addition to our long fought campaign for civil rights. He is truly a force multiplier for us.

—R. Clarke Cooper, LCR’s current chief in a previous and updated statement

[via Washington Blade]