Mehlman in 2005: 'I Don't Know' if Homosexuality is a Choice

Here's some of the late Tim Russert's interview with then-RNC Chair Ken Mehlman from Meet the Press, on June 5 2005??.

MR. RUSSERT: Will the president continue to push for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage???

MR. MEHLMAN: The president strongly believes that marriage in this country ought to be between a man and a woman. He also believes it is something that ought to be decided by the people. He doesn't believe that judges ought to impose their will on the people. And because there have been a number of judicial decisions, most recently in Nebraska, that have made that decision for the people. He believes that a constitutional amendment is appropriate so the people can weigh in. It's something that's before the United States Senate. It's one of their agenda items they intend to move on this year, and I think we can expect to see them do that.??

MR. RUSSERT: You've been trying to broaden the base of the Republican Party and yet Log Cabin Republicans, gay Republicans, issued this statement in the course of last year's election: " is impossible to overstate the depth of anger and disappointment caused by the President's support for an anti-family Constitutional Amendment. This amendment would not only ban gay marriage, it would also jeopardize civil unions and domestic partnerships. ... Some will accuse us of being disloyal. However, it was actually the White House who was disloyal to the 1,000,000 gay and lesbian Americans who supported him four years ago in 2000. Log Cabin's decision was made in response to the White House's strategic political decision to pursue a re-election strategy catered to the radical right. ... Using gays and lesbians as wedge issues in an election year is unacceptable to Log Cabin..."??

MR. MEHLMAN: I would respectfully disagree with their statement on that. I think this is an issue in which there's some disagreement. The fact is if you look at the exit polls about 23 percent of gays and lesbians voted for this president, so lot of folks disagreed with what the Log Cabin Republicans said. I'm glad they're supporting the president's position on Social Security. But I think that fundamentally for the president and for millions of Americans, this is an issue of principle. Who should decide on a critical question of how we define marriage in this country? Should it be decided by an activist court or by the people? We believe the people should make this decision.??

MR. RUSSERT: Do you believe homosexuality is a choice???

MR. MEHLMAN: I don't know the answer to that question. I don't think it matters to the fundamental question here because at bottom, this president believes in non-discrimination. He believes in equal treatment. He believes in respect for all. He also believes, separate and apart from that question, that the fundamental question of marriage ought to be defined in the way it's been defined for more than 200 years of our nation's history, which is by the people's representative at the state legislatures.??

MR. RUSSERT: But the Log Cabin Republicans will say if you're born gay, it's a biological determination, not a matter of choice.??

MR. MEHLMAN: And that's--that may be, but the fact is that's irrelevant to question of the public definition of marriage. They're two totally different issues.??

- Jake Tapper

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