Few top GOP officials back same-sex marriage at high court

J. Scott Applewhite, AP

J. Scott Applewhite, AP

WASHINGTON — The partisan divide over same-sex marriage among top elected officials remains stark, with Democrats overwhelmingly on record in favor and Republicans mostly silent so far.

J. Scott Applewhite, AP

J. Scott Applewhite, AP

The list of Republicans who are supporting same-sex marriage, in a case set for arguments April 28 at the Supreme Court, is much longer than it was two years ago, but it remains conspicuously short of sitting members of Congress and governors.

President Barack Obama is the top Democrat calling on the Supreme Court to extend same-sex marriage nationwide. He is joined by 211 Democrats and independents in Congress and 19 Democratic state attorneys general.

On the Republican side are just seven sitting members of Congress and one governor, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts.

Massachusetts was the first state in which same-sex couples could marry, starting in 2004, as a result of a state Supreme Court ruling.

Baker put his support in personal terms. “My view on this is pretty simple. I have a brother who’s gay. He lives in Massachusetts. He’s married,” Baker said when the Republicans’ brief was filed in early March. “There simply wasn’t a moral justification” for denying same-sex couples the right to marry, Baker said.

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Senators who signed the brief are Susan Collins of Maine and Mark Kirk of Illinois. The House members are Reps. Carlos Curbelo of Florida, Bob Dold of Illinois, Chris Gibson of New York, Richard Hanna of New York and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida.

Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, who announced his support for same-sex marriage in 2013 after Portman’s son told him he is gay, is not among the signers. The Supreme Court is considering state marriage bans from Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.

Other prominent Republicans who joined the brief are: billionaire political donor David Koch; former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani; Mary Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney; former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, six former governors and 16 former members of Congress.

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