A group of 25 prominent Republicans in Michigan have signed onto a brief supporting marriage equality and urging the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to uphold a lower court ruling striking down the state's marriage discrimination amendment. The Detroit Free Press reports:
The two-dozen Republicans who signed the brief filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals Monday said it's time to provide equality for all citizens.
"As various states have legalized civil marriage for same-sex couples, undersigned Amici, like many Americans, have examined the emerging evidence and have concluded that there is no legitimate, fact-based reason for denying same-sex couples the same recognition in law that is available to opposite-sex couples," they said in the brief.
The brief was signed by 15 former members of either the state or U.S. House of Representatives, including former Speaker of the House Rick Johnson of LeRoy, U.S. Rep. Joe Schwarz of Battle Creek, and state Rep. Chris Ward of Howell.
It was also signed by well-known constitutional attorney Richard McLellan, who has advised many Republican politicians; Jennifer Gratz, who led the fight against affirmative action policies at the University of Michigan; and Greg McNeilly, a prominent Republican staffer who was one of about 300 same-sex couples who were married in the hours after U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman struck down Michigan's ban as a violation of the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause.
Former state Rep. Leon Drolet, a Macomb County Republican who also signed the brief, said it serves two purposes: showing federal judges how prominent Republicans feel about the issue and providing an example for fellow Republicans.
The Free Press notes that Drolet was one of just three Republicans who opposed Michigan's marriage discrimination amendment when the Legislature voted to approve it in 2004. Former Speaker Johnson says that if he could re-do that vote, he would oppose the measure as well.