Ken Mehlman's process of coming out of the closet certainly has stirred the troops. People are enraged by his previous politics. Some believe he has to apologize for a litany of past positions before he can be accepted into the greater LGBT community. Others have welcomed him and his vast network of contacts that he now brings to this community. What is clear is that everyone has an opinion.
There are really important facts to remember as the community comes to terms with its latest out member:
-Coming Out has been and continues to be the most important political action that a person can take in our epic struggle. Every time an individual finds the courage to come out to his family, friends and public, it creates a ripple effect that increases the hope for us all.
-No one should ever be discouraged from Coming Out nor punished for it.
-For years we have been saying, "We Are Everywhere" and this certainly proves the case.
-We are not a membership organization where someone has to meet criteria either socially or politically for entrance.
-The purpose of a movement is to change minds. Look at the shift in public opinion in the last few years. We should accept those who have opposed us in the past and use their talents and gifts.
-Finally, no one has to approve, accept nor be quiet about another person's political beliefs or actions in their past. That is the essence of free speech. You don't have to like them personally, have to sleep with them, approve of their dog or cat nor invite them to dinner.
Like Ted Olson taking the Proposition 8 Court Case, Ken Melhman's coming out process is bound to create a rippled effect. Just look at the names on the fundraiser that he has organized to support marriage equality and the American Foundation for Equal Rights Proposition 8 Court Case.. Do we want to make it impossible for all conservatives to come out for marriage equality? Do we want to shun all people whose policies of the past we personally disagree? Who gets to decide who is acceptable and who is not?
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