February 27. 2013 4:55PM

John DiStaso's Granite Status: Bass heads list of NH Republicans fighting to overturn California same-sex marriage ban

By John DiStaso, Senior Political Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 27: FIGHTING PROPOSITION 8. Former U.S. Rep. Charlie Bass and two sitting state senators are among a group of prominent Granite State Republicans who have joined the legal battle to overturn California's Proposition 8, which currently outlaws same-sex marriage in that state.

With the challenge set to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court next month, about 100 well-known Republicans nationally have signed on to a "friend of the court" amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs attempting to overturn the measure.

(For earlier Granite Status items, click on "Granite Status" above).

Sources tell the Granite Status that New Hampshire Republicans who also signed the brief, along with Bass, included Republicans state Sen. Nancy Stiles of Hampton and John Reagan of Deerfield.

Also signing was Tyler Deaton, current secretary of the New Hampshire Young Republicans and managing director of B-Fresh Consulting. He is a former leader in the successful efforts to enact same-sex marriage in New Hampshire and defeat repeal attempts as campaign manager of New Hampshire Republicans for Freedom and Equality and a former spokesperson for Standing Up for New Hampshire Families.

State Rep. Adam Schroadter, vice chairman of the House Business Caucus, and Jacob P. Wagner, chairman of the New Hampshire Federation of College Republicans, have also signed on in support of the plaintiffs in the Proposition 8 case.

Bass told the Granite Status that he also "signed on" in support of repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act in his final days as a congressman.

"I also don't think that civil marriage, which is what this case is about, poses any threat to religious freedom," he said.

"It also reflects the reality that we have in New Hampshire," in which same-sex marriage is legal, Bass said.

"I received a note from (former Republican National Committee Chairman) Ken Mehlman about it," Bass said. "He sent me the brief and I read it and I thought it made sense."

Nationally-known Republicans who have signed on to the brief include Mehlman, who is on the board of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, the former presidential candidate who backed only civil unions as a candidate but now backs same-sex marriage, former Massachusetts governors William Weld and Jane Swift, former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, and former California candidate for governor Meg Whitman.

The amicus brief says in part:

"Whether same-sex couples should have access to civil marriage divides thoughtful, concerned citizens. But this Court has long recognized that a belief, no matter how strongly or sincerely held, cannot justify a legal distinction that is unsupported by a factual basis, especially where something as important as civil marriage is concerned.

"Our constitutional tradition requires the judiciary to protect our most cherished liberties against overreaching by the legislature or the electorate, and that principle, no less than our commitment to democratic self-government, is necessary to individual freedom and limited government," the brief says.