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GQ Magazine inks major spread on gay Republicans; Bush official denies RNC chief Mehlman is gay, contradicting earlier reports


Magazine covers outings; Official denies Mehlman is gay

By John Byrne | RAW STORY Editor

GQ Magazine details the outing campaign of gay blogger Mike Rogers (also editor of RawStoryQ) in a 3,100 word spread in this month's issue, now on newsstands in New York and Los Angeles, RAW STORY has learned.


The piece, which includes a first-ever denial that the chairman of the Republican National Committee Ken Mehlman is gay--a fact contested by many reporters and others close to the Mehlman himself--is sure to spark a new firestorm of debate over whether outing those who oppose gay civil rights is appropriate.

Included in the piece are fresh new hints about Rogers' future outing campaigns, such as a senator who had an indiscreet encounter in a Union Station men's room. These are also accompanied by a fresh attack on Rogers' approach.

“Ken Mehlman is not gay,” Steve Schmidt, a senior official of the Bush campaign and a friend of Mehlman’s told Jake Tapper, an ABC News correspondent who wrote the piece for the magazine. Schmidt who refers to Rogers as a “bottom dweller.”

Mehlman has not responded to previous requests for comment on his sexuality from any publication.

RAW STORY previously reported that during the Republican National Convention in New York, Schmidt intimidated two New York newspapers from printing a story questioning Mehlman's sexuality. Schmidt also allegedly called the sources that had spoken to Mike Rogers, who had been ready to go on the record about their experiences with the then-Bush-Cheney campaign manager. Mehlman was also outed by a progressive radio talk show host late last year.

AmericaBLOG's John Aravosis, who is gay and publicly questioned whether Mehlman might be gay last year, said he was surprised a Bush campaign official would deny Mehlman was gay.

"If he's now heterosexual, I'd like to know why he's single at 38," Aravosis told RAW STORY. "Because we've heard nothing about girlfriends, we've heard nothing about marriage, we've heard nothing about nothing--and he's bashing [us] about gay marriage? Because he doesn’t seem like much of a defender of marriage himself."

Rogers finds Mehlman's attack on gay marriage ludicrous.

"How can we amend the constitution to protect marriage from single, heterosexual men like Ken Mehlman who decide never to marry?" he remarked to RAW STORY Thursday. "Isn't Ken Mehlman as much a threat to heterosexual marriage as I am?

"With all those eligible, beautiful Republican activist women at his beck and call," he added, "you would think one would have been handsome enough for that Harvard-education, handsome lawyer."

Republicans in Congress appear as ghosts in the piece saying they won't fire staffers who are outed as gay. Rogers began his campaign outing some staff members of prominent congressmen who voted against gay rights.

"One person related to me a story of Republican congressman Henry Hyde of Illinois joking that if he ever ran into Rogers, he'd punch him in the nose," Tapper writes. "Senator Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina reportedly told her staff they had nothing to worry about, should any of them be outed. With the exception of Senator Inhofe parsing between his personal and committee staffs, no one has said anything to distance himself or herself from a gay staffer Rogers has targeted."

Inhofe, senator from Oklahoma, has said he would hire gays for his committee staff in Washington but not at his district office.

Barney Frank, a Democratic congressman from Massachusetts, comes to Rogers defense. Frank is one of three openly gay members of Congress.

“There still is this official doctrine that we’re immoral,” Frank told Tapper for the piece. “But the Republican attitude is that they have now moved to the point where they accept the fact that you’re gay as long as you act somewhat embarrassed about it.”

One staffer tells Tapper a fact known inside the beltway but not widely reported--that some members of Congress posture as being more anti-gay than they actually are to please constituents.

“We’re a representative democracy,” the staffer told GQ. “And while members may not have personal problems with having gay staff, they vote the way their constituents want them to."

Tapper also interviews Daniel Gurley, former National Field Director for the Republican National Committee, who acknowledged to RAW STORY and Rogers that he was gay in a phone interview last year. Gurley blames liberals for a mailer he sent to Southern states that said liberals would ban the bible and allow gay marriage.

“I would rather it not have been done,” Gurley told GQ. “But if the left had pursued civil unions as a positive affirmation of legitimate gay relations as opposed to calling it marriage, it’s highly unlikely a mailing like that would have existed.”

A gay staffer also weighed jocularly into the article, saying that the number of gay Republicans in Congress is not small.

“There's clearly a gay Republican mafia,” one gay staffer whom Rogers has targeted told Tapper. “There's one in every office.”

Originally published on Thursday March 17, 2005.


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