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Ken Mehlman, Bush's 2004 campaign manager and former chairman of the RNC, becomes the most powerful Republican to identify as gay.

"It's taken me 43 years to get comfortable with this part of my life," Mehlman said. "Everybody has their own path to travel, their own journey, and for me, over the past few months, I've told my family, friends, former colleagues, and current colleagues, and they've been wonderful and supportive. The process has been something that's made me a happier and better person. It's something I wish I had done years ago."

Mehlman was a powerful member of the GOP during the period when the party was pushing for anti-gay initiatives to appear on ballots across the country. The good news?

He agreed to answer a reporter's questions, he said, because, now in private life, he wants to become an advocate for gay marriage and anticipated that questions would arise about his participation in a late-September fundraiser for the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), the group that supported the legal challenge to California's ballot initiative against gay marriage, Proposition 8.

He may have been silent about his sexuality and actively pursued a homophobic platform during a period of time when he could have done a large amount of good, but at least he's trying to right that wrong.

Originally posted to Bamos on Wed Aug 25, 2010 at 03:23 PM PDT.

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