Dozens of prominent Republicans - including top advisers to former President George W. Bush, four former governors and two members of Congress - have signed a legal brief arguing that gay people have a constitutional right to marry, a position that amounts to a direct challenge to Speaker John A. Boehner and reflects the civil war in the party since the November election.This brief is an amicus brief (a "friend of the court" brief) in the case of Hollingsworth v. Perry, formerly Perry v. Schwarzenegger and later Perry v. Brown, otherwise and commonly known as "The Prop 8 Case." It is challenging the consitutionality of Proposition 8, which defines marriage as solely between a man and a woman and embeds it in the California Constitution.
The total as of Monday evening was seventy five signatories.
None of the most prominent Republican signatories are actually in office... Still, the list is impressive. It includes John Huntsman and Meg Whitman, both of who stood against marriage equality not long ago. Also David Stockman (Reagan's budget director), Christine Whitman (former Governor of New Jersey), William Weld (former Governor of Massachusetts) and Ken Mehlman (former RNC Chair).
Two current US Congresspersons, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida and Richard Hanna of New York are signatories, but neither Colin Powell, who recently came out in favor of same-sex marriage, nor Dick Cheney, a long-time supporter, have signed.
Amicus briefs "generally do not change Supreme Court justices' minds" but
... some said that the Republican brief, written by Seth P. Waxman, a former solicitor general in the administration of President Bill Clinton, and Reginald Brown, who served in the Bush White House Counsel’s Office, might be an exception.The Supreme Court, which unexpectedly agreed to hear the Proposition 8 case back in late November of 2012, is currently receiving briefs and rebuttals. Oral arguments are scheduled for March 26th, and a decision is expected in late June.
Tom Goldstein, publisher of Scotusblog, a Web site that analyzes Supreme Court cases, said the amicus filing "has the potential to break through and make a real difference...
"The person who is going to decide this case, if it’s going to be close, is going to be a conservative justice who respects traditional marriage but nonetheless is sympathetic to the claims that this is just another form of hatred."
In another interesting tidbit, the New York Times article's author, Sheryl Stolberg, felt comfortable stating without qualification that
A majority of Americans now favor same-sex marriage, up from roughly one third in 2003.Hearts and minds have been won. Now it's up to the nine Supreme Court Justices to tell us what we already know.