Over 75 Republicans Sign Legal Brief Supporting Gay Marriage in DOMA Court Case
A battalion of influential Republicans are throwing their support behind gay marriage in an amicus brief to the Supreme Court with sights on next month’s gay rights court discussions.
At least 75 conservative politicians signed the document, which argues that gay marriage is a constitutional right. While friend-of-the-court briefs are not deciding factors in court cases, legal analysts said the brief has the potential to sway conservative justices based on the prominent names of the Republicans who have signed it, the New York Times writes.
Republicans who signed the brief include former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, former Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio), former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, Reps. Richard Hanna (N.Y.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.).
“Like a lot of the country, my views have evolved on this from the first day I set foot in Congress. I think it’s just the right thing, and I think it’s on solid legal footing, too,” Pryce told the Times.
This March, the Supreme Court will take on one challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, a law that defines marriage as the union between a man and a woman, and Proposition 8, a California law that banned gay marriage in the state in 2008.
The effort against gay marriage is primarily being carried out by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who has green-lighted $3 million to spend on lawyers defending in DOMA.
Passed in 2008, Proposition 8 took away the right to marry from gays and lesbians in California. The law was challenged by two gay couples, who got a historic decision on On Feb. 7, 2012, when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit found Proposition 8 unconstitutional. The proponents of the anti-gay law then took that decision to the Supreme Court.
DOMA is a 1996 law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, thus depriving gay couples of the rights and privileges granted to heterosexual couples, like filing tax returns together and maintaining estate rights after widowing.
The Supreme Court is set to start oral argument on these cases on March 26 and March 27.