You would think that former National Republican Chairman Ken Mehlman was campaigning for a Presidential candidate in Iowa this week. Instead the out Republican has been meeting with Iowa Republican leaders on the issue of marriage equality. Supporting his efforts is former senior advisor to Mitt Romney, Dave Kochel. The prominent Iowa Republican said on Iowa television, "The culture wars are over. And the Republicans, largely, lost."
In 2009, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that marriage equality was a constitutional right. Since the ruling over 4,500 couples have married in the state. In 2008, 62% of Iowan's were against marriage equality. In a poll in 2012 only 36% were against marriage equality.
In an article in the Des Moines Register written by Jennifer Jones, she reported:
"Republicans should speak out in favor of same-sex marriage because the majority of Americans support it and it’s consistent with conservative values, a national GOP strategist said in Iowa on Monday.
In private meetings with GOP elected officials and operatives from across the state, Ken Mehlman, who was chairman of the Republican National Committee from 2005 to 2007 and managed George W. Bush’s re-election campaign, has been urging party leaders to recognize the evolution in thinking and demographic shifts in Iowa and the nation.
“Republicans have an opportunity to both stand up for values that are core to our philosophy — freedom, family values and the golden rule — and to do the right thing politically by allowing adults who love one another to have access to civil marriage,” Mehlman said in an interview with The Des Moines Register.
He spoke Monday evening at a public event at the Davis Brown law firm in Des Moines. The crowd of about 40 included influential Republicans such as Eric Branstad, Steve Roberts, Stan Thompson, Christine and John Stineman and Eric Woolson.
Mehlman, who came out as gay in 2010, doesn’t go as far as saying Republicans will lose future elections if they continue to crusade against same-sex marriage.
“A lot of issues affect what happen in an election,” he said.
But it’s indisputable that 53 percent of Americans support the freedom to marry for same-sex couples, he said.
Mehlman said he has been well received by a couple of dozen senior-level Iowa Republicans. He was accompanied at some of the meetings by David Kochel, the top Iowa adviser for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign."