According to this article in The Washington Post [free subscription required], two leading Republicans in the District of Columbia have announced their support for efforts to legalize same-sex marriage in the city.
Robert J. Kabel, chairman of the D.C. Republican Committee, and Patrick Mara, an unsuccessful Republican D.C. Council nominee last year, pledged to lobby Republicans on Capitol Hill to stay out of the local same-sex marriage debate.
"On behalf of a large constituency of D.C. Republicans, we would like to thank you," the two wrote to D.C. Council member David A. Catania (I-At Large) last week after he introduced his legislation. "We appreciate your efforts in supporting this long overdue legislation in the District of Columbia. . . . We would like to offer our support in aiding the advancement of this bill in Congress, particularly amongst Republicans."
Kabel is believed to be the only openly gay chairman of a state Republican committee in the nation. Mara, who is heterosexual, has been a longtime supporter of same-sex marriage. He is also widely believed to still have ambitions of joining the council.
The comments from Kabel and Mara put them odds with many of their counterparts in other state Republican committees and highlight the local party's progressive views on many social issues.
Still, local Republican officials are limiting the committee's role in the same-sex marriage debate. Although Kabel and Mara made public their letter to Catania, the committee does not plan to endorse his bill. The D.C. Democratic Committee approved a resolution this summer supporting same-sex marriage.
Catania, who is gay, was a Republican until 2004, when he quit the party in protest of President George W. Bush's call for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.