Cindy McCain, the wife of Sen. John McCain, is the latest high-profile Republican to declare support for marriage equality for gays and lesbians. Her daughter, Meghan, has been a vocal supporter for more than a year.
Sure, Republicans are still more likely to resist marriage equality. In fact, late yesterday Senator McCain’s office felt the need to issue a statement reassuring voters he’s still opposed to marriage rights for same-sex couples. But just in the last year a number of notable conservatives have made the case that supporting loving couples should be a non-partisan issue. They include:
–Vice President Dick Cheney, who, while he responds to the marriage question with the somewhat oblique “freedom means freedom for everybody,” has not challenged the understanding that he supports full marriage rights for gays and lesbians.
–Steve Schmidt, McCain’s chief strategist during his 2008 presidential run, who told the Washington Blade, “I’m personally supportive of [marriage] equality for gay couples and I believe that it will happen over time.”
–Maine gubernatorial candidate Peter Mills, a state senator who voted in favor of the state’s marriage equality bill. ”It’s a state relationship. What religious institutions choose to do is really very different and outside the realm of what the state should rightfully get involved in,” Mills said. He was joined by GOP State Sen. Chris Rector in supporting the marriage bill that was overturned by a statewide ballot measure.
–Dede Scozzafava, the Republican nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2009 special election in New York’s 23rd congressional district, who was driven from the race by right-wing activists who opposed her stances on marriage and other issues. She is a member of the New York State Assembly.
–Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, who has moved on the issue since vetoing two marriage equality bills passed in the state legislature. He opposed the repeal of Prop 8 and had this advice for those fighting to keep marriage equality in California: ”They should never give up. They should be on it and on it until they get it done.”
–Ted Olson, the former Solicitor General of the United States, who brought a federal case challenging the constitutionality of California’s Prop 8. Olson penned a now-famous op-ed in Newsweek titled, “The Conservative Case for Gay Marriage.”
UPDATE: A tweet from @sosweho points out we missed Tom Campbell, a former member of Congress who’s now running for Senate in California. Campbell authored this article in Reason magazine in 2008 urging Republicans to vote no on Prop 8. If you think we’ve missed any other Republicans with national stature who support full marriage equality, send us an e-mail and we’ll add ‘em to the list.