Ken Mehlman Gay Revelation Mark a Shift in GOP?

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Mehlman has since insisted he could not, as one individual, go against the party consensus on marriage and he doesn't believe the marriage debate was a deciding factor in the 2004 presidential election.

He also said some gay marriage opponents' views are genuinely and deeply held. "It's a mistake to assume to those who disagree on the right to marry issue are motivated by bigoted feelings," he said. "A lot of the friends I have who feel differently on that issue are motivated by heartfelt belief. I look forward to trying to persuade them on my own views but I think it's a mistake to question their motives."

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Does he regret being part of that campaign in any way?

"No," Mehlman said. "What I regret is the fact that I had not come to terms with this part of my life and therefore...I was not able to do what I was able to do in other areas and work for a more inclusive and broader party."

Former Republican Senate staffer John Reid, who was also outed by Rogers, says he's hopeful Mehlman's admission now will make a difference in the way the party treats gays.

"Suddenly Republican activists and Republican politicians are faced with the reality that they know good, gay people," he said. "And it's a lot harder to speak out against good, strong individuals when you actually know that they're close to you and they're working for the same ultimate goals within your party."

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