Des Moines Register:
Iowa Republican operative David Kochel is among about 80 prominent Republicans who signed their names on a legal brief that argues same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry.
The brief will be filed on Wednesday to the U.S. Supreme Court, which is reviewing a California appeals court decision that ruled that a 2008 law that banned gay marriage was unconstitutional.
Kochel, who was the top Iowa strategist for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and the other signers argue that same-sex marriage promotes both family values and conservative values. The legal brief supports the plaintiffs challenging California’s same-sex marriage ban, called Proposition 8.
Other Republicans who signed the document include Mary Bono Mack, Alex Castellanos, James B. Comey, Gary Johnson, Stephen Hadley, Jon Huntsman, James Kolbe, Ken Mehlman, Steve Schmidt, William F. Weld, Christine Todd Whitman and Meg Whitman.
The New York Times first reported on the legal brief.
One of the signers is Ken Mehlman, who was in Iowa last month urging party leaders to recognize the evolution in thinking on marriage equality and demographic shifts in Iowa and the nation. Mehlman was chairman of the Republican National Committee from 2005 to 2007 and managed George W. Bush’s re-election campaign.
Mehlman is on the board of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, an organization seeking to legalize same-sex marriage in California and elsewhere.
The organization says the 14th Amendment protects people from government intrusions into life, liberty and property, and requires that laws must apply equally to everyone. It argues that California’s same-sex marriage ban violates both clauses.
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on March 26. The court is also hear arguments in a case that challenges Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law passed in 1996. A final decision is expected by the end of June.
Kochel told The Des Moines Register: “It’s time for the GOP to recognize that opposition to gay marriage is both bad policy and bad politics. Marriage equality is consistent with our principles of freedom and liberty, and it’s the only way we’re going to win back voters – young voters especially – who believe very simply that every free individual should have the right to marry the person whom they love.”
Meanwhile, 18 Republicans in the Iowa Senate are sponsoring a newly introduced resolution that would authorize a statewide vote on a constitutional amendment to prohibit same-sex marriage. The bill is unlikely to pass. Same-sex marriage has been legal in Iowa since 2009.