Aside from the fact that these people are all well-known and powerful conservative Republicans,
do you know what they (and at least seventy-five more) share with one another, as well as with Progressives?
Jon Huntsman, 2012 presidential candidate and Utah Governor
Ben Ginsberg, chief attorney for the Romney Campaign
Michael Powell, former Chair, Federal Communications Commission
Theodore Olson, Bush Solicitor General and co-counsel in the effort to have the Court, in March, overturn California's Prop-8 which revoked the state's marriage equality law. H is shown here with a photo of his wife, Barbara, killed on one of the 9/11 planes. He argued for Mr. Bush in Bush v. Gore, which gave the presidency to Mr. Bush. His opposing counsel in that case was David Boies (now his co-counsel in the marriage equality case).
Meg Whitman, former Republican candidate for California governor and CEO, Hewlett-Packard
David Stockman, budget director under President Reagan
Christine Todd Whitman, former governor of New Jersey
Steve Schmidt, former senior advisor to John McCain's presidential campaign
Ken Mehlman, former campaign manager for George Bush (2000, 2004) and Republican Party Chairman
These public figures are all on the record as being in favor of marriage equality. Most of them (and the close to seventy more) have signed an amicus (friend-of-the-Court) brief in the case the United States Supreme Court will hear at the end of March, the case that may overturn California's 2008 Proposition-8 that itself reversed its legislature's marriage equality law. There is a growing understanding among conservatives, elected officials, consultants, and corporate leaders, that marriage equality, in the words of Mr. Cheney, is a legal and ethical mandate, that "freedom means freedom for everybody". They believe that marriage is generally good for societal stability and especially for children. (For major U.S. corporations planning to file a similar friend-of-the-Court brief, see below.)
. Jon Huntsman, former Utah Governor and presidential candidate in 2012, as well as a recent ambassador to China, says as much in his recent piece called Marriage Equality is a Conservative Cause published in "The American Conservative".
. A past Republican Party Chair, Ken Mehlman, says of the group, "we are judicial and political conservatives, and it is consistent with our values and philosophy for you [the Court] to overturn Proposition-8."
. The friend-of-the-Court brief, signed by the seventy well-known Republicans, was written by a former solicitor general in the Clinton Administration and a lawyer who served in the White House Counsel's Office under President Bush.
It's true that legal briefs, regardless of who signs on to them, are not often dispositive when Supreme Court Justices vote on cases. At the same time, constitutional law experts and those who understand that if Equality wins at the Court, it will be, as Sheryl Gay Stolberg reports in Tuesday's New York Times, a traditionally conservative Justice who will provide (at least) the fifth vote to overtun Proposition-8 and raise up Marriage Equality as a protected constitutional right.
It is my hope, when Mr. Olsen and Mr. Boies together argue to the Court (among their other arguments) that our Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause requires states to treat all adult citizens in the same manner, that the Court will respond positively. The Court did that in 1967 when, in Loving v. Virginia, it held unconstitutional all state laws banning interracial marriage. The Court, if it upholds Proposition-8, will be saying that while states cannot bar mixed-race marriage, they can ban same-sex marriage. If the Court so rules, its majority must explain why race bigotry cannot sustain discriminatory state laws and yet gender-orientation bigotry can.
I have been hopeful. And I am somewhat more hopeful now that so many prominent conservative Republicans have signed on to Equality in their friend-of-the-Court brief.
Understand, fundamental rights would still be possible for LGBT citizens if we lose at the Court; it would mean that states would have votes on the issue for as long as we live and beyond.
Our Constitution, however, demands that all citizens' basic rights not be a matter of voters' whims (which can change and reverse and change yet again over time). The Court should hold that it is Equal Protection Under Law that our Fourteenth Amendment affords all citizens that requires the United States, all fifty, that it is the United States Constitution, that demands thoroughgoing marriage equality.
In related news, Reuters reports that numbers of our largest corporations also intend to file a joint brief urging the Supreme Court to overturn Proposition-8.