Gay Rights Advocates to Supreme Court: ‘View of Marriage Has Evolved’

By Penny Starr | March 1, 2013 | 9:45 AM EST

Rev. Scott Slater, spokesperson for the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, spoke at a press conference on Feb. 28, 2013 in favor of same-sex marriage. ( Starr)

( – Ahead of the U.S. Supreme Court hearing oral arguments in challenges to California’s ban on same-sex marriage and the Defense of Marriage Act in late March, a coalition of homosexual advocates held a press conference Thursday to announce numerous friend-of-the-court briefs to be filed by Thursday’s deadline.

One of those speaking in support of same-sex marriage at the Respect for Marriage Coalition event on Thursday was the Rev. Scott Slater, who speaks for the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, which filed a brief opposing DOMA. He said the way marriage is perceived has “evolved.”

“Clearly our view of marriage has evolved over thousands of years since the time when women were considered property and a man could own as many of them as he could afford, either as wives or slaves,” Slater said.

Slater said repealing DOMA is a “moral imperative.”

“It’s time to act against this act,” Slater said.

In a press release distributed at the press conference, the coalition claimed that more than 100 “conservatives and Republicans” have signed on to briefs opposing Prop 8 and DOMA.

One of those is former Republican Congressman Jim Kolbe, who served as a representative from Arizona from 1985 to 2003. Kolbe “came out” as a homosexual in 1996 – the same year he voted in support of DOMA.

“As a Republican, I believe in protecting individual freedoms and that everyone – including gay and lesbian Americans – has a Constitutional right to be treated equally under the law,” Kolbe said.

Some of the other Republicans named as signing on to opposition briefs are Mary Cheney, Mary Bono Mack, David Frum, Stephen Hadley, Jon Huntsman, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), Christine Todd Whitman and Meg Whitman.

At a press conference on Feb. 28, 2013 in support of overturning the Defense of Marriage Act and Prop 8, from left, Mike Neubecker, his wife Janice, the couple's gay son's partner, David Neubecker, and Braiden Neubecker, one of two children David and Lee Neubecker adopted. ( Starr)

Also at the press conference was a couple and their son’s gay partner and the 10-year-old daughter the two men adopted. Mike Neubecker referred to 10-year-old Braiden Neubecker as his granddaughter and read from a letter he said she wrote about her experience living with “two dads.”

“Before I lived with my two dads, my life was horrible,” her letter stated. “My old family never treated me well. They wouldn’t stand up for me. When my foster sister fought with me, my old mom would just sit there and watch me get hurt so I would have to fight back.

“Each time I was at a foster home, the foster parents promised me they would keep me safe and treat my brother and I equally,” she said in the letter. “But they always broke their promise.

“I moved five times until my dad and daddy found me,” her letter added. “They also promised that they would always love me and keep me safe and would treat me equal with my brother.

“I was 4 when I met them,” she said in the letter. “Now I am 10, and they have kept their promises. They do so much for me. They never hurt me or my brother. I feel so safe.

“I believe I can do anything with my two dads,” her letter stated. “Would there be any purpose to ban the marriage of two men or two women when they can treat children the same or even better than other couples?”

Neubecker said of his son Lee and his partner David, who also adopted Braiden’s brother, “In their children’s eyes they’re married.”