PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - 80 prominent Republicans, including former Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack, have signed a brief in support of gay marriage.
The brief will be submitted to the Supreme Court this week in support of a suit that aims to strike down California's Proposition 8, a 2008 ban on gay marriage.
Arguments on that case are scheduled for March 26. Followed by arguments in the similar Defense of Marriage Act suit the following day. The national impact of these decisions could be why these Republicans chose to speak out. The brief has also brought some concern from local members of the right, "I thought that they were kind of against it," said Robert Appleby. "Historically? Yeah, I'm surprised."
The list who signed the friend of the court brief to be submitted to the Supreme Court also includes Meg Whitman, the former California governor hopeful who used to support Proposition 8. It also includes Richard Grenell, who most recently served a brief stint as national security spokesperson for Mitt Romney. The openly gay Grenell says a ban on Prop. 8 supports conservative ideals. "That it's limited government, that it's personal responsibility, and that it supports the family," said Grenell. "This is the message that I think that we want people to hear. And that democrats are going to work very hard to make sure you don't hear that message."
People on both sides of the aisle in the desert believe the call for change makes sense. "Myself, a conservative, I think they should get with the times and go with the majority of what people would like," said Barry Porteous.
"I think it's about time. It's fairly safe now since none of them are holding political office, and probably not going to run but better late than never," said Daniel Mingledorff, a democrat.
People like former congresswoman Mary Bono Mack. She signed the brief after often deferring the issue to the state level during her time on Capitol Hill. Grenell defends her position then and now. "Mary Bono Mack has always recognized that this is an equality issue, except it depends on how the issue was written into a piece of legislation in Washington, and the Democrats continue to play politics," said Grenell.
Before the issue goes to the Supreme Court next month, President Obama could also weigh in, he has until Thursday. Either way, Grenell says it's time to take the issue off the ballot. "Let the courts deal with this or let the legislature deal with this, but we cannot use this as a political football," said Grenell. "It's definitely not fair to the gay and lesbians."