Dozens of national Republicans last week signed an amicus brief encouraging the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down California’s Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage. The lists includes a familiar name: former Pa. Governor Tom Ridge.
Ridge signed PA’s own law ban on same sex marriage into law in 1996.
The 131 Republicans who signed last week, “support traditional conservative values, including the commitment to limited government, the protection of individual freedom, and the belief in the importance of stable families,” the brief says.
They, “have concluded that marriage is strengthened, not undermined, and its benefits and importance to society as well as the support and stability it gives to children and families promoted, not undercut, by providing access to civil marriage for same-sex couples.”
The brief proceeds to cite the Court’s decision to strike down local bans on the sale of firearms as a sort of precedent.
Polls indicate that national support for gay marriage has grown in recent years, and in the wake of Mitt Romney’s 2012 defeat many Republicans have said that the party should cease to make the issue a priority.
Socially liberal policies are not foreign to Ridge; he has been noted as one of the country’s most prominent pro-choice Republicans. He served as Pa. Governor from 1995 to 2001 when he was named the Secretary of Homeland Security.
California voters amended the state constitution in 2008 by approving Proposition 8, a ban on gay marriage (the state’s Supreme Court had issued a ruling which legalized gay marriage earlier that year). The U.S. Supreme Court recently decided to hear the subsequent case, one of the most significant legal fights ever in the battle over gay marriage.
PA’s ban defines marriage as between one man and one woman and prohibits the recognition of same sex marriages from other states. Unlike in California, the ban is a matter of statute rather than the state constitution, meaning it could be changed via the normal legislative process.