In a move that could divide the Republican Party even further on the issue of gay marriage around 75 “leading Republicans” have signed a briefing urging the Supreme Court to strike down Proposition 8. The controversial clause was added to the Californian state constitution in 2008 stating that marriage was between a man and a woman. The clause was added following a bitter public referendum.
The New York Times reports that 75 Republicans have signed the brief urging an end for Proposition 8 and surprisingly some of those who previously opposed gay marriage are amongst the signatures. Jon Huntsman is amongst those to sign the list; he previously argued against gay marriage but in favour of civil unions. Last week though he penned an article calling for his party to back gay marriage.
The backing of gay marriage by so many Republicans may well come as a surprise to some as the party is widely seen to be hostile to gay rights. Last year’s campaign to select a Republican presidential candidate certainly seemed to re-enforce the anti-gay impression of the party which leading candidates such as Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann all stating their opposition to gay marriage.
While same-sex marriage does divide opinion in America there is a greater amount of support for it from younger voters a group the Republicans feel they don’t always appeal to. President Barack Obama became the first serving American president to openly support gay marriage when he gave his backing last year. Obama’s vice president, Joe Biden, gave his support for marriage equality in the weeks prior to Obama’s announcement.