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Matthews: 'Here's to Ken Mehlman'

Let me finish tonight with the story of Ken Mehlman.

Let me finish tonight with the story of Ken Mehlman.Ken was campaign manager for President George W. Bush's re-election campaign of 2004. He was also chairman of the Republican National Committee.What brings him back into the news is his public acknowledgement that he's gay. He said he plans to be an advocate for gay rights within the Republican party."What I will try to do is to persuade people, when I have conversations with them, that it is consistent with our party's philosophy, whether it's the principle of individual freedom, or limited government, or encouraging adults who love each other and who want to make a ‘lifelong commitment’ to each other to get married."Wow.Gay marriage was a decisive issue in that 2004 presidential campaign. In Ohio, a ballot initiative opposed to gay marriage, drove a significant portion of the electorate to vote for President Bush over Senator John Kerry. Had this issue of same-sex marriage not been put at the forefront of statewide attention in Ohio, it is fair to say that Kerry would have won Ohio and the election.The issue has hardly gone away.“Because our children's future is best preserved within the traditional understanding of marriage," it says in the most recent Republican platform, "we call for a constitutional amendment that fully protects marriage as a union of a man and a woman…Children in homes without fathers are more likely to commit a crime, drop out of school, become violent, become teen parents, use illegal drugs, become mired in poverty, or have emotional or behavioral problems."I think Ken Mehlman's statement of his own orientation will help. There are many, many workers in the Republican party who are gay. They work for a party that has enforced a "don't ask, don't tell" policy just like the one required by the U.S. military, which is odd. In the military, you're not supposed to act on your politics. In a political party that's what you're "supposed" to do.Here's to Ken Mehlman. As it says in the New Testament, "the truth shall set you free." And, one more time, let's hear it for the Declaration of Independence, you know, that part about life, liberty and, oh yeah, the pursuit of happiness being an inalienable right.

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