Former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman is taking up the cause of gay marriage.

Mehlman, who managed President George W. Bush's 2004 re-election campaign, told gay glossy The Advocate that he's organizing a fundraiser for the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER).

Mehlman said the fundraiser, which has already attracted $750,000 in its pre-selling phase, will be hosted by Elliott Management Corp. CEO Paul Singer.

AFER was created specifically to support a challenge to California's gay marriage ban, Proposition 8, and is funded by deep-pocketed Hollywood.

The group's decision to hire former Bush administration solicitor general Ted Olson raised eyebrows among gay activists who questioned the Republican's motivations.

In the interview, Mehlman, who came out gay on Wednesday after denying rumors for years, sounded a lot like Olson in making his case for gay marriage.

“I would argue … that in fact if you are a believer in individual freedom and leaving people alone and you're a believer in strengthening families that, in fact, supporting issues like the right to marry would be consistent with that. I think those are conservative positions,” he said.

Critics point out that Mehlman's silence on the issue in 2004, the year that eleven states approved gay marriage bans with the backing of the GOP, is at odds with his new-found support for the issue.

“I understand that folks are angry, I don't know that you can change the past,” he said. “As I've said, one thing I regret a lot is the fact that I wasn't in the position I am today where I was comfortable with this part of my life, where I was able to be an advocate against that [strategy] and able to be someone who argued against it.”

AFER President Chad Griffin urged people to look beyond the past.

“I have spent no time thinking about where Ken was four to five to six years ago. I'm just thankful that he's with us today.”

“He is one of the most brilliant political strategists from the Republican side of the aisle,” he told The Advocate. “And he is also a master fundraiser and brings contacts and relationships to bear that comparable to almost no one.”

Mehlman left politics to work at New York City-based private equity firm KKR.