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GOP Gay Rights Group Supports Former RNC Chairman in Coming Out

A Republican gay rights organization hopes the coming out of a former Republican National Committee chairman will help to make the party more inclusive.

Ken Mehlman, who served as campaign manager for President George W. Bush in 2004 and was RNC chairman from 2005 to 2007, told the Atlantic that he has informed relatives and associates that he is gay, the magazine reported online Wednesday.

R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, said the national gay and lesbian grass-roots organization is “very supportive and appreciative of Ken’s coming out.”

“As a fellow Bush alumnus, I also look forward to Ken helping me and our colleagues build a stronger, more inclusive Republican Party,” Cooper said in an e-mail.

Mehlman is head of global public affairs at KKR, a New York private equity firm. He previously was a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.

Mehlman’s Republican leadership work occurred as the party attacked gay marriage. He told the Atlantic that he could have tried to intervene if he had come out sooner. “I can’t change the fact that I wasn’t in this place personally when I was in politics, and I genuinely regret that,” he told the Atlantic. “It was very hard, personally.”

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