At least 75 top Republicans have signed a legal brief to be submitted to the Supreme Court this week, arguing that gay marriage is a constitutional right, according to The New York Times, which got a copy of the document.
The court is preparing to take on the subject of gay marriage late next month, when it will hear oral arguments on the constitutionality of California's gay marriage ban, Proposition 8, and the Defense of Marriage Act. It is expected to render a decision in early summer.
The signers of the document are mostly out-of-office Republicans or former top officials, including former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, former Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio), former Massachusetts Govs. William Weld and Jane Swift, and former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman.
Reps. Richard Hanna (N.Y.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.) are notable exceptions, and are among the most pro-gay Republicans in Congress.
Their position stands in contrast to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who is poised to spend up to $3 million in defense of DOMA. The law prohibits same-sex married couples from getting federal benefits and allows states not to recognize other states' same-sex unions. The Obama administration has directed its Justice Department not to defend the law.
The friend-of-the-court brief is apparently aimed squarely at conservatives' hearts, citing the Citizens United case on campaign finance and District of Columbia v. Heller, which overturned the city's handgun ban.
Former first lady Laura Bush, who protested to get footage of her removed from a pro-gay marriage ad campaign last week, has not signed the brief. Neither has former Secretary of State Colin Powell. Former Vice President Dick Cheney has not signed it, despite the fact that pro-gay Republican groups crow that he has been more progressive than President Barack Obama on the issue.