Dozens of lawmakers and top political figures have signed a legal brief arguing gay couples should have the right to marry, which was submitted this week to the U.S. Supreme Court. But get this – they were all Republicans.
Nearly 100 prominent Republicans have added their names to the brief, the New York Times reported this week. In contrast to traditional GOP orthodoxy, the document -- submitted in support of a lawsuit seeking to strike down California’s gay marriage ban -- states that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry.
Next month the court will hear the case challenging the California law, known as Proposition 8. Additional, a separate case concerning the Defense of Marriage Act will be argued this term, a law that until recently was almost universally supported by mainstream Republican lawmakers.
The GOP has made a conscientious effort to expand the demographic composition of the party since its blistering loss in the November presidential election. Since then, the party has budged from its right-of-center stance on social issues such as immigration and slowly, gay rights, possibly as a way to gain a more diverse base. According to the Times report, some of the Republican signatories on the legal brief in question now say same-sex unions advance conservative principals by emphasizing the importance of solid family structures.
So who signed the brief? According to the Times, the list includes:
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, currently the most senior Republican woman in the House. She was the first Hispanic woman, and the first Cuban-American, to be elected to Congress.
U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna of New York, who is a member of the Huntsman Equality Caucus.
John M. Huntsman Jr., the former Utah governor, ambassador to China, and presidential candidate.
William Weld and Jane Swift, both former governors of Massachusetts.
Meg Whitman, who supported Proposition 8 when she ran for governor of California in 2010.
Stephen J. Hadley, a national security advisor to former President George W. Bush.
Marilyn Muscrave, a former Colorado congresswoman once named the most conservative member of the House by the American Conservative Union.
Last week, former First Lady Laura Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Secretary of State Colin Powell made headlines after previous interviews they had given in support of gay marriage were used in an ad for The Respect for Marriage Coalition. However, Bush reportedly asked to be removed from the campaign after learning she was featured in the video.
Cheney and Powell’s names were included on the legal brief.
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