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. ..

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. …

But it’s indisputable that 53 percent of Americans support the freedom to marry for same-sex couples, he said.