20+ Prominent Republicans From Western U.S. Sign Brief In Favor Of Same-Sex Marriage

TenthcircuitThe times they are a-changin', or so it seemed yesterday when it was announced that over twenty prominent Republican lawmakers would file a friend-of-the-court brief in favor of same-sex marriage for the 10th Circuit court (right). The court will hear appeals this April from both Oklahoma and Utah, states looking to reinstate same-sex marriage bans after federal courts struck them down this winter. 

The New York Times reports:

The most prominent of the approximately 20 signers of the brief are former Senator Alan K. Simpson of Wyoming, a longtime supporter of gay rights, and former Senator Nancy L. Kassebaum of Kansas, who said last year that she had reconsidered her former opposition to same-sex marriage. The document says that “marriage is strengthened” and “the social stability of the family unit are promoted” by allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.

The Times noted that the brief is but one document in an on-going shift in the Republican party, which has seen much more support for same-sex marriage in the past couple of years.

Last month, a New York Times/CBS News poll found a rapid shift in Republican attitudes nationwide. Forty percent of Republicans said same-sex marriage should be legal, up from 33 percent last May and only 24 percent in September 2012.

Sean Gallagher, a lawyer and Republican Party activist in Denver who helped prepare the brief, said many Republicans were rethinking their positions. “The themes of liberty and freedom resonate especially well in the West,” said Mr. Gallagher, who was chief counsel in Colorado for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in 2012.

Early last year, dozens of Republicans, including four former governors and former White House officials, joined in a similar legal brief to the Supreme Court, arguing that gay people have a constitutional right to marry. Neither Mr. Simpson nor Ms. Kassebaum signed that document.

If the 10th Circuit appeals court upholds the federal courts' decisions, we could see same-sex marriage legalized not only in Utah and Oklahoma, but also Colorado, Kansas, and Wyoming. New Mexico, which already legalized same-sex marriage in December, is also a part of the 10th Circuit.


  1. simon says

    It seems that the Repugs are one step ahead of the Catholic Church. Hope it won’t take a few more hundred years for the Church to change their mind like they did on the Solar system.

  2. Paul R says

    Not sure what your point is, Sergio. Simpson has remained heavily involved in politics since being a senator. He’s been on the faculty of Harvard and been a lead author or contributor to major Congressional reports on pressing issues.

    He’s also scary tall. I met him when I was a child and was terrified. Anyway, Wyoming often gets painted as a hellhole (and in some ways, it is–I’d never live there), but it’s among the many Western states where the attitude is more like, “I don’t care what you do, as long as it doesn’t bug me” than “I hate you and will do whatever I can to hurt you.”

  3. TampaZeke says

    It’s too funny that one of the Judges that struck down a marriage amendment was a Gallagher. Now this pro-marriage equality person is a Gallagher. This must REALLY piss Maggie Gallagher off!

  4. Chris says

    +1, Sergio

    All of these former office holders come out for equality once they’ve left office because they don’t have to worry about a primary.

  5. Clayton says

    @Sergio and Chris–

    Like you, I’d prefer that sitting senators showed their support. But the support of people like Simpson and Kassebaum is not to be lightly discarded. Keep in mind that Republican Governor Jan Brewer vetoed the Arizona Bill, after being urged to by Repulican (sitting) Senator John McCain, and Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney. The Republican Party is not the safe haven for anti-gay bigots that it was even a year or two ago. Same-sex marriage used to be a dependable way to turn out the base. Now that up to 405 of Republicans nationwide support marriage equality, we’re going to start seeing a lot more Republican politicians taking a pro-equality stance, and that can only be good for the LGBT population.

  6. Francis says

    Remember, it’s Democrats Steve Beshear and Roy Cooper defending marriage bans in Kentucky and North Carolina, respectively. This is really more of a conservative vs moderate/liberal issue than a straight up Republican vs Democrat one.

    Pro-equality Republicans are still a minority, but with 30-40% pro-equality…that’s a significant minority and one they cannot ignore anymore. That alone is important and is progress.

  7. anon says

    This is part of the “anti-crazies” movement among mainstream Republicans to avoid Tea Partyers and evangelicals as much as possible and downplay their hot button issues.

  8. Jim says

    How come these people were never courageous enough to take a stand for equality when they were in office and it would have mattered? Why did they wait until they were long out of office and nobody cared about them anymore? We know why. Because they were gutless and played to the bigots for votes. And now they want to burnish their faded reputations with a bit of trendy equality and hope nobody notices that they were and still are hypocrites.

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