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Over 100 Republicans argue for marriage equality in Supreme Court brief on Prop 8

More than 100 prominent Republicans sign a Supreme Court brief in the Prop 8 case arguing that the California constitutional amendment violates the U.S. Constitution and that marriage equality should be a nationwide, constitutional right.  Among the signatories to the brief are U.S. Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Richard Hanna (R-NY), and several former Republican governors such as Christine Todd Whitman of New Jersey, Jane Swift of Massachusetts and Jon Huntsman, Jr. of Utah, as well as many members of previous Republican administrations.

The Republicans’ brief, spearheaded by Ken Mehlman, George W. Bush’s 2004 campaign manager, argues that “marriage promotes the conservative values of stability, mutual support, and mutual obligation.”  Notably, the brief points out that several of its signatories had previously opposed to marriage equality, but changed their minds to conclud that “marriage is strengthened, not undermined, and its benefits and importance to society as well as the support and stability it gives to children and families promoted, not undercut, by providing access to civil marriage for same-sex couples.”

“It is precisely because marriage is so important in producing and protecting strong and stable family structures,” the Republicans write, “that amici do not agree that the government can rationally promote the goal of strengthening families by denying civil marriage to same-sex couples.”  Substantial evidence from the field of social science, they note, demonstrates that marriage equality does not contribute to the ‘deinstitutionalization’ of marriage and that same-sex parents are equally beneficial to the wellbeing of children as opposite-sex parents.

“The right to marry,” the Republicans’ brief argues, “indisputably falls within the narrow band of specially protected liberties that this Court ensures are protected from unwarranted cur-tailment…. Proposition 8 ran afoul of our constitutional order by submitting to popular referendum a fundamental right that there is no legitimate, fact-based reason to deny to same-sex couples.”

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