Dozens of lawmakers and top political figures have signed a legal brief, arguing gay couples should have the right to marry. They have submitted the brief this week to the U.S. Supreme Court, and 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 a case challenging the California law, known as Proposition 8. A separate case concerning the Defense of Marriage Act, a law that until recently was almost universally supported by mainstream Republican lawmakers, will also be heard this term.
Since losing November's presidential election, the GOP appears to be making a conscientious effort to expand its demographic composition. The party has budged from its right-of-center stance on social issues such as immigration, and, slowly, gay rights, possibly in an attempt to appeal to a broader base. Some Republican signatories on the gay marriage legal brief now say that the unions advance conservative principals by emphasizing the importance of solid family structures, the New York Times article said.
So who signed the brief? The newspaper said the list includes:
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, the most senior Republican female 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.
Jon M. Huntsman Jr., a former Utah governor and presidential candidate, as well as ambassador to China.
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 adviser to George W. Bush.
Marilyn Musgrave, 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." Bush has 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.