Why do only two Republicans in Congress admit to supporting gay marriage?

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Feb. 26 2013 3:28 PM

Why Only Two Republicans in Congress Admit to Supporting Gay Marriage

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Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) greets people during the Women for Mitt kick-off of a 'Stronger Middle Class' Bus Tour of South Florida on September 17, 2012 in Miami, Florida.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Here's a story that's getting a lot of buzz this week, but for all the wrong reasons. A host of "prominent Republicans" signed a legal brief supporting gay marriage. Cool. But of the 82 GOPers on the list, only four currently hold political office, and only two at the federal level. More interestingly, the two lawmakers in Congress who signed the pledge have been the butt of redistricting since the 2010 census in their respective states.

One is Rep. Richard Hanna, a member of both the NRA and the CATO Institute who represents upstate New York's Utica area, but who was just redistricted into a slightly more conservative area. The other is Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who represents the south Miami area in the 27th district but who was drawn out of two urban (and also LGBT) hubs she'd represented since 1989: South Beach and the Florida Keys.

A panel of federal judges in New York handled the state's redistricting after the state legislature failed to agree on new Congressional lines. Meanwhile, Florida faced one of the most contentious redistricting battles of 2011, with the Republican-controlled statehouse facing calls of gerrymandering from (ahem) some members of the media.

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This is all to say it may not be a coincidence that the only two GOP congressmen to vocally support gay marriage are two who were also just drawn into more conservative—and therefore less winnable for them—districts.

Read the full list of signees, courtesy of James Richardson, after the jump.

  • Ken Mehlman, Chairman, Republican National Committee, 2005-2007
  • Tim Adams, Undersecretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, 2005-2007
  • David D. Aufhauser, General Counsel, Department of Treasury, 2001-2003
  • Cliff S. Asness, Businessman, Philanthropist, and Author
  • John B. Bellinger III, Legal Adviser to the Department of State, 2005-2009
  • Katie Biber, General Counsel, Romney for President, 2007-2008 and 2011-2012
  • Mary Bono Mack, Member of Congress, 1998-2013
  • William A. Burck, Deputy Staff Secretary, Special Counsel and Deputy Counsel to the President, 2005-2009
  • Alex Castellanos, Republican Media Advisor
  • Paul Cellucci, Governor of Massachusetts, 1997-2001, and Ambassador to Canada, 2001-2005
  • Mary Cheney, Director of Vice Presidential Operations, Bush-Cheney 2004
  • Jim Cicconi, Assistant to the President & Deputy to the Chief of Staff, 1989-1990
  • James B. Comey, United States Deputy Attorney General, 2003-2005
  • R. Clarke Cooper, U.S. Alternative Representative, United Nations Security Council, 2007-2009
  • Julie Cram, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director White House Office of Public Liaison, 2007-2009
  • Michele Davis, Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs and Director of Policy Planning, Department of the Treasury, 2006-2009
  • Kenneth M. Duberstein, White House Chief of Staff and Assistant to the President, 1981-1984 and 1987-1989
  • Lew Eisenberg, Finance Chairman, Republican National Committee, 2002-2004
  • Elizabeth Noyer Feld, Public Affairs Specialist, White House Office of Management and Budget, 1984-1987
  • David Frum, Special Assistant to the President, 2001-2002
  • Richard Galen, Communications Director, Speaker’s Political Office, 1996-1997
  • Mark Gerson, Chairman, Gerson Lehrman Group and Author of The Neoconservative Vision: From the Cold War to the Culture Wars and In the Classroom: Dispatches from an Inner-City School that Works
  • Benjamin Ginsberg, General Counsel, Bush-Cheney 2000 & 2004
  • Adrian Gray, Director of Strategy, Republican National Committee, 2005-2007
  • Richard Grenell, Spokesman, U.S. Ambassadors to the United Nations, 2001-2008
  • Patrick Guerriero, Mayor, Melrose Massachusetts and member of Massachusetts House of Representatives, 1993-2001
  • Carlos Gutierrez, Secretary of Commerce, 2005-2009
  • Stephen Hadley, Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor, 2005-2009
  • Richard Hanna, Member of Congress, 2011-Present
  • Israel Hernandez, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, 2005-2009
  • Margaret Hoover, Advisor to the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, 2005-2006
  • Michael Huffington, Member of Congress, 1993-1995
  • Jon Huntsman, Governor of Utah, 2005-2009
  • David A. Javdan, General Counsel, United States Small Business Administration, 2002-2006
  • Reuben Jeffery, Undersecretary of State for Economic, Energy, and Agricultural Affairs, 2007-2009
  • Greg Jenkins, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Presidential Advance, 2003-2004
  • Coddy Johnson, National Field Director, Bush-Cheney 2004
  • Gary Johnson, Governor of New Mexico, 1995-2003
  • Robert Kabel, Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs, 1982-1985
  • Theodore W. Kassinger, Deputy Secretary of Commerce, 2004-2005
  • Jonathan Kislak, Deputy Undersecretary of Agriculture for Small Community and Rural Development, 1989-1991
  • David Kochel, Senior Advisor to Mitt Romney’s Iowa Campaign, 2007-2008 and 2011-2012
  • James Kolbe, Member of Congress, 1985-2007
  • Jeffrey Kupfer, Acting Deputy Secretary of Energy, 2008-2009
  • Kathryn Lehman, Chief of Staff, House Republican Conference, 2003-2005
  • Daniel Loeb, Businessman and Philanthropist
  • Alex Lundry, Director of Data Science, Romney for President, 2012
  • Greg Mankiw, Chairman, Council of Economic Advisers, 2003-2005
  • Catherine Martin, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Communications Director for Policy & Planning, 2005-2007
  • Kevin Martin, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission, 2005-2009
  • David McCormick, Undersecretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, 2007-2009
  • Mark McKinnon, Republican Media Advisor
  • Bruce P. Mehlman, Assistant Secretary of Commerce, 2001-2003
  • Connie Morella, Member of Congress, 1987-2003 and U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2003-2007
  • Michael E. Murphy, Republican Political Consultant
  • Michael Napolitano, White House Office of Political Affairs, 2001-2003
  • Ana Navarro, National Hispanic Co-Chair for Senator John McCain’s Presidential Campaign, 2008
  • Noam Neusner, Special Assistant to the President for Economic Speechwriting, 2002-2005
  • Nancy Pfotenhauer, Economist, Presidential Transition Team, 1988 and President's Council on Competitiveness, 1990
  • J. Stanley Pottinger, Assistant U.S. Attorney General (Civil Rights Division), 1973-1977
  • Michael Powell, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission, 2001-2005
  • Deborah Pryce, Member of Congress, 1993-2009
  • John Reagan, New Hampshire State Senator, 2012-Present
  • Kelley Robertson, Chief of Staff, Republican National Committee, 2005-2007
  • Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Member of Congress, 1989-Present
  • Harvey S. Rosen, Member and Chairman, Council of Economic Advisers, 2003-2005
  • Lee Rudofsky, Deputy General Counsel, Romney for President, 2012
  • Patrick Ruffini, eCampaign Director, Republican National Committee, 2005-2007
  • Steve Schmidt, Deputy Assistant to the President and Counselor to the Vice President, 2004-2006
  • Ken Spain, Communications Director, National Republican Congressional Committee, 2009-2010
  • Robert Steel, Undersecretary of the Treasury for Domestic Finance, 2006-2008
  • David Stockman, Director, Office of Management and Budget, 1981-1985
  • Jane Swift, Governor of Massachusetts, 2001-2003
  • Michael E. Toner, Chairman and Commissioner, Federal Election Commission, 2002-2007
  • Michael Turk, eCampaign Director for Bush-Cheney 2004
  • Mark Wallace, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Representative for UN Management and Reform, 2006-2008
  • Nicolle Wallace, Assistant to the President and White House Communications Director, 2005-2008
  • William F. Weld, Governor of Massachusetts, 1991-1997, and Assistant U.S. Attorney General (Criminal Division), 1986-1988
  • Christine Todd Whitman, Governor of New Jersey, 1994-2001, and Administrator of the EPA, 2001-2003
  • Meg Whitman, Republican Nominee for Governor of California, 2010
  • Robert Wickers, Republican Political Consultant
  • Dan Zwonitzer, Wyoming State Representative, 2005-present
  • Emma Roller is a Slate editorial assistant. Follow her on Twitter.