On March 19, The Advocate published an op-ed by Republican Nancy Brinker, who wrote about her decision to sign a historic amicus brief in favor of marriage equality. The amicus brief, signed by 303 Republicans with various political leanings, was created by Project Right Side and former Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman.
As the founder of Susan G. Komen, a nonprofit organization that raises money and awareness for breast cancer, Brinker expressed her desire to expand her work to fight against social stigma by associating herself with the pro-marriage equality movement.
“We are at a historical crossroads in America, when disparate political and ideological communities are committed to ensuring that discrimination on any level will not be tolerated,” Brinker wrote. “We want the court to know that we support traditional conservative values, including a belief in the importance of stable families, and that those conservative values are consistent with affording civil marriage rights to same-sex couples.”
Brinker’s involvement may be due in large part to her son, Eric, who is gay. “Just as it seems difficult to imagine a time when the phrase ‘breast cancer’ was taboo, it is almost impossible for me to fathom that in 26% of this nation, civil marriage is still unavailable for same-sex couples,” Brinker noted in her article, perhaps concerned about her own son’s matrimonial options, or lack thereof.
The amicus brief is part of an amalgam of four cases in different states, which will be heard by the Supreme Court in April. The brief was signed by other influential Republicans, including Senator Susan Collins of Maine, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and billionaire GOP donor David Koch.
In addition to founding Susan G. Komen, which is named after her sister, who died of breast cancer in 1980, Brinker was United States Ambassador to Hungary from 2001 to 2003 and White House Chief of Protocol from 2007 to 2009 under President George W. Bush. President Barack Obama gave her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009, and she has been honored as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People.