75 Republican Leaders Sign Supreme Court Brief Supporting Marriage Equality

supreme courtAs lawyers prepare to argue Hollingsworth v. Perry before the Supreme Court next month, dozens of Republican leaders have joined an amicus brief supporting marriage equality and the opposing the Defense of Marriage Act.

The brief, being filed this week, argues that marriage equality is a conservative value that embraces the idea of  “limited government and maximizing individual freedom.”

By contrast, the brief, shared with The New York Times by its drafters, cites past Supreme Court rulings dear to conservatives, including the Citizens United decision lifting restrictions on campaign financing, and a Washington, D.C., Second Amendment case that overturned a law barring handgun ownership.

The list of signatories includes Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Richard Hanna (R-NY), former NSA director Stephen J. Hadley, former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, Justice Department appointee James B. Comey, Reagan-era budget director David A. Stockman, California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman (who supported Proposition 8 when she ran), ex-New Jersey governor Christine Todd Whitman, and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, who affirmed his support for marriage equality in an op-ed last week.

It take a little of the punch away that many of these allies are no longer in their positions of power, but analysts say their support could influence the Supreme Court’s more conservative jurists

“As opposition to the freedom to marry becomes increasingly isolated and the exclusion from marriage increasingly indefensible, Americans all across the political spectrum are saying it’s time to end marriage discrimination, do right by families, and get our country on the right side of history,” said Freedom to Marry president Evan Wolfson.