After President Barack Obama proclaimed his gay marriage views evolved to the point where he believes gays should have the right to marry, there haven't been a lot of Republicans saying they stand with him.
Out of 289 Republicans in congress, only one - U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) -- shares the same views as Obama on gay marriage. She may be the bravest Republican in congress.
Ros-Lehtinen, a Cuban-American congresswoman who represents Florida's 18th district, which includes Miami and the Florida Keys, is the lone Republican sponsor of the Respect For Marriage Act, which would repeal 1996's Defense of Marriage Act -- the law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. She's also a founder of the LGBT Caucus.
I voted against the constitutional amendment defining marriage so I'm pleased to co-sponsor the repeal of DOMA and work with my colleagues on marriage equality, Ros-Lehtinen said in a statement announcing her co-sponsorship of the bill last year.
It's unclear how Ros-Lehtinen arrived at her views, but her inspiration may have been similar to why former Vice President Dick Cheney's bucks his party on gay marriage.
Lynn Cheney, the vice president's daughter, is gay, and Dick Cheney believes she should have the same right to marry that straight couples have.
As many of you know, one of my daughters is gay and it is something we have lived with for a long time in our family. I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish. Any kind of arrangement they wish, Cheney told the National Press Club in 2009. The question of whether or not there ought to be a federal statute to protect this, I don't support. I do believe that historically the way marriage has been regulated is at the state level. It has always been a state issue and I think that is the way it ought to be handled, on a state-by-state basis. ... But I don't have any problem with that. People ought to get a shot at that.
Ros-Lehtinen, 57, has a transgender son, Rodrigo Lehtinen, who was born Amanda Lehtinen.
Ros-Lehtinen and her husband, former Florida legislator Dexter Lehtinen, said they support Rodrigo, who is a gay rights activist.
Our love is unconditional,'' they told the Miami Herald in 2010. Our children have the right to live any way they wish. All of our children will always be integral members of our family.
The congresswoman said it was her children who taught her about gay rights.
They think of it as a Neanderthal way of thinking not to accept someone because of their sexual orientation, Ros-Lehtinen told the paper in 2003. My kids just say, 'So and so is gay.' It's like, 'He likes chocolate ice cream.' It's a total mind-shift among generations. . . . As new generations raise up, a lot of taboos will be laid to rest.
Political pundits say Obama's so-called evolution on gay marriage (some believe Obama supported the idea all along) is a strategy aimed at ensuring younger generations vote Democrat for years to come as Americans become more accepting of gays.
Polls show gay marriage gaining steam, with 38 percent now in support compared to 28 percent in July 2004, according to a CBS/New York Times poll released today.
If you add those in favor of civil unions but not marriage for gay couples, that number shoots up to 72 percent with one-third of respondents believing gay couples should have no legal recognition at all.
It's unclear whether other Republicans will follow Ros-Lehtinen's lead on gay issues. She can be more forward on such issues due to her district, being that Miami and the Florida Keys have a large LGBT presence. Being a member in congress and being in favor of gay marriage is more difficult for legislators in deep red southern states where gays are considered taboo, let alone whether they should have the right to marry.
Still, that doesn't mean Ros-Lehtinen isn't any less brave. She'll wind up being on the right side of history, while her party may have doomed itself in future national elections.