Over 300 prominent Republican lawmakers have filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief with the Supreme Court urging support for same-sex marriage in the court's upcoming decision.
Ken Mehlman, the openly gay former Republican National Committee chairman and manager of George W. Bush's 2004 campaign, is fronting the brief in the court's case, scheduled for oral arguments on April 28.
"One of the points that I hope people appreciate when they read the brief is that supporting marriage equality is, in fact, the conservative position," Mehlman told the Boston Globe
Signers include Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal and billionaire Republican donor David Koch, Time Magazine reports
The list includes 23 current or former Republican House and Senate members and seven current or former governors.
The court has set aside two-and-a-half hours for oral arguments on the cases, collectively known as Obergefell v. Hodge, in which it is expected to determine whether states may limit marriages to traditional man-woman pairings and whether states must recognize same-sex marriages performed where they are legal, in 37 states and the District of Columbia, The Washington Post reports
Mehlman told Time: "There's been an increase … in public support for marriage equality across all ideological, racial, and political groups."
The brief states
: "Amici share the view that laws that bar same-sex couples from the institution of civil marriage, with all its attendant profoundly important rights and responsibilities, are inconsistent with the United States Constitution's dual promises of equal protection and due process."
Further, it states: "Amici support the free exercise of religion, and have the deepest respect for those who defend it. Given the robust federal and State protections for the free exercise of religion, however, amici do not believe that access to civil marriage for same-sex couples should pose a threat to religious freedom."
"Republicans traditionally have great respect for court decisions, particularly the Supreme Court," Mehlman told Time. "The data shows that public acceptance increases very quickly, and very significantly."
Gov. Baker told the Globe: "His (Mehlman's) largest point is that marriage is a good thing, and when it comes to civil marriage there is not a rational basis to say that gay marriage should be treated differently than traditional marriage."
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