Conservative kingpin David Koch signs on to pro-marriage equality amicus brief

Last week, the general counsel for David Koch confirmed that the conservative billionaire, powerbroker and rain-maker would sign on to an amicus brief in support of the upcoming federal challenge to state-level marriage equality bans.

But Koch’s official support for gay marriage, going beyond mere public statements and actually signing onto a legal brief, highlights a rift between the economic and cultural conservatives within the GOP: discrimination is bad business. Koch’s endorsement only lends credence to evidence showing a host of economic benefits associated with adopting marriage equality nationwide.

Koch, a noted libertarian, has had no trouble reconciling his support for virulently anti-gay candidates with his personal indifference to what LGBT citizens do with their personal lives. Asked about this apparent dissonance, Koch said of his beneficiaries’ stances on marriage equality: “That’s their problem.

Despite that shoulder shrug of an answer, official endorsements of marriage equality from major conservative players such as Koch are very much a “problem” for GOP figures and candidates who continue to oppose it. They serve as additional writing on the wall that, instead of launching a massive resistance movement if and when the Supreme Court recognizes same-sex marriage, GOP candidates, figures and voters would do well to get over it and move on.

Because discrimination more than just bad business; it’s also increasingly bad politics.

Koch’s endorsement comes on the heels of new analysis  from AP-NORC showing that, for the first time ever, marriage equality enjoys a clear majority of public support. Furthermore, Republican support for gay marriage is up to 45 percent, from 31 percent in 2012. This represents a larger percentage point increase in support than was seen among Democrats and independents over the same timeframe, narrowing the gap in support between the political groups.

With that in mind, there’s no reason to believe that Koch’s support is backed by anything other than narrow self-interest. After all, this is a man who’s basically putting together his own political party to advance his financial goals. Koch knows that the more time GOP candidates spend railing against marriage equality, the fewer elections they will win. And without Republican legislators around to enact union-busting, tax cutting, regulation-eliminating legislation, he might make a slightly less obscene amount of money over the next fiscal year.

So while I’m glad that he’s “on our team” for this round, I’m having a hard time holding his support at anything other than arm’s-length. It’s a nice feather in our caps, but I can’t say I’m proud to have him on board.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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