Capitol Alert

Whitman, Kashkari among Republicans backing gay marriage in court brief

Meg Whitman is interviewed on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014.
Meg Whitman is interviewed on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014. AP

California’s last two Republican gubernatorial candidates – including Meg Whitman, who once supported the state’s same-sex marriage ban – are among more than 300 conservatives who have filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of gay marriage.

The brief, filed Thursday, comes before hearings next month on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee.

The brief’s signers include Whitman, who ran unsuccessfully against now-Gov. Jerry Brown in 2010, and Neel Kashkari, who lost to the Democratic governor in November.

California voters approved a same-sex marriage ban in 2008, but the measure was invalidated and public opinion has shifted. A Field Poll in 2013 found 61 percent of California voters support same-sex marriage.

Whitman supported California’s same-sex marriage ban while running for governor, vowing to defend the measure, Proposition 8, against legal challenges. But in 2013 she joined other Republicans in a court filing similar to the one issued this week. She said at the time that she had come “to embrace same-sex marriage after a period of careful review and reflection.”

In addition to Whitman and Kashkari, signers include GOP consultants Steve Schmidt, Mike Murphy and Aaron McLear. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Republican donor David Koch are among major national signers.

The brief is one of many coming to the court in the case. The San Francisco Giants joined hundreds of businesses in a similar filing in support of gay marriage.

Call David Siders, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 321-1215. Follow him on Twitter @davidsiders.