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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40 Responses to “Conservative kingpin David Koch signs on to pro-marriage equality amicus brief”

  1. Badgerite says:

    It’s over. The fat lady is singing now.

  2. Butch1 says:

    His legacy, and the damage from it unfortunately will live on.

  3. Butch1 says:

    He only put his wet finger in the wind recently to see which way the wind of change was blowing. He could care less about gay rights, but if it can make him additional money, he will be for it. One thing he is not is a myopic thinker like so many in the party he supports more.

  4. hidflect says:

    To him it’s just deregulation of organic capital…

  5. kurtsteinbach says:

    Ask Twit Romney about the quality of the GOP-Conservative alliance.

  6. kurtsteinbach says:

    Businesses never, “Do the right thing,” without first checking the profit-loss column. If it were not for regulations, there’d be no minimum wage, no sprinklers in buildings, no safety laws, etc. . . . A planet of the corporations, by the corporations, and for the corporations is their goal

  7. kurtsteinbach says:

    I look at David Koch’s support in this matter the same way that I look at Evangelical Christian’s who support Israel because A jewish israel is needed for the end of days where the Jews convert. I wonder if they’re aware that their Orthodox Jewish buddies this that when the Messiah comes, everyone else will essentially convert to Judaism. . . .

  8. kurtsteinbach says:

    Yeah, they’re saying it’s time to drop this issue because they lost (they have), so that they can move on to their other issue, dismantling America, humanity, and this planet by scuttling the economy, the middle class, and continue destroying the environment and our planet. . . .

  9. kurtsteinbach says:

    I hope he doesn’t laugh that long. . . . Have you seen him? My late grandparents are in better health than the Koch brothers. . . . LOL!

  10. mark_in_toronto says:

    He’s doing it because it’s profitable . . . PERIOD.
    He’s still a sleazy scumbag and in 20 years, he’ll be dead.

  11. Demosthenes says:

    By signing on to such a brief, he effectively notifies his couriers, puppets, lickspittles, lackeys, and underlings (a/k/a the politicians he purchases) that it’s time to drop the whole issue.

  12. dcinsider says:

    No good liberal likes the Koch brothers, but kudos to David for signing onto the brief. Marriage equality should be a nonpartisan issue in which people who disagree on a host of issues can come together to support equality.

    Jon, I enjoy your writing, but the bash-the-Kochs article is misplaced in this context.

    And even if I were to adopt your position that this represents nothing other than “naked self interest” then I’d say “welcome you selfish bastard!” I don’t care that much about an individual’s motivation as long as they are on board.

    But for the record, I believe Koch’s position is sincere on this, and consistent with his views of the role of government. The hypocrites are the conservatives who oppose marriage equality, not Mr. Koch..

  13. rmthunter says:

    I think the emphasis on the Kochs’ donations to anti-gay candidates is misplaced: what are those candidates’ positions on taxes, unions, and government regulation of business — the EPA, OSHA, and the like? Their social conservative credentials are beside the point — as Koch noted, “That’s their problem.” He doesn’t care — he wants people who are going to do his bidding on regulations and “government interference.”*

    This is not the first “liberal” cause one of the Kochs, or both, have supported. I’m sure it won’t be the last — as long as it’s good for business.

    * Don’t get the idea that I favor their support for less government regulation — I don’t: in spite of what we hear from the right, government regulations originate as a reaction to actual abuses. They’re necessary because the plutocrats have no sense of social responsibility — I see them as nothing more than a bunch of sociopaths.

  14. kurtsteinbach says:

    Reminder: Conservatives recently called the Pope a libtard. . . .

  15. kurtsteinbach says:

    It only says one of the Koch brothers signed onto this Amicus Brief. I have to think that means that Charles Koch did not sign. . . .

  16. kurtsteinbach says:

    That’s right to work, for less and get paid less. . . .

  17. kurtsteinbach says:

    Ahhhhhh. . . . I’m melting. . . melting! Whoever thought a little goyle. . . . Ahhhhh!

  18. kurtsteinbach says:

    If it was me his Amicus Brief, I’d have to do it while holding my nose to keep from vomiting. The Koch brothers are doing everything within their power to destroy this country, on everything from climate change to voting rights, they are continuing to screw over the American people. . . .

  19. nicho says:

    the conservative billionaire, powerbroker and rain-maker

    More like ” fascist dictator,” but do go on.

  20. Indigo says:

    That’s not exactly a warm-fuzzy but at least he’s on board.

  21. Indigo says:

    That’s an interesting twist. It will be worth watching what those two come up with.

  22. UncleBucky says:

    He is a Liebertarian. One of the planks of the Libertarian platform is for government to stay out of bedrooms. But I will no sooner vote with him or for him or because of him.

    The Koch/GOP/Bircher/Thumper/Neo-Confederate/Liebertarian party can go chew grass.

  23. 2karmanot says:


  24. 2karmanot says:

    Exactly so….same with relatives who ‘love’ us but ick the gay, and vote against us at every turn. Not my kind of love, thank you.

  25. nicho says:

    Yeah, those three will be torn between their loyalty oath to the Koch brothers and their loyalty oath to the Pope.

  26. nicho says:

    No. No. My eyes. My eyes.

  27. jack says:

    this is crazy, and I hope to get discussions about what other people think about gay rights on, which is a new online political forum that is going to change the way we discuss politics. For now we are just a forum, but we are building something that is so much more than the sum of it’s parts. Check it out and start discussing the issues plaguing us today!

  28. Bill_Perdue says:

    He’s not rebranding like Obama and some politicians. He doesn’t need to.

    He, and others like him, can and do buy elections and politicians as needed.

  29. Naja pallida says:

    Rented? Bought, sold, fist up their backside to the elbow, using them as a puppet.

  30. Houndentenor says:

    Exactly. I don’t care about their feelings. All that affect me are their actions and the consequences of those actions. I’m sick of people telling me they are “personally” for gay rights but vote for and donate to anti-gay politicians. As if their feelings affected the real world in any way. Their actions do.

    And, this is not the package deal it’s made out to be. If the big donors can influence policy for their business interests they could just as well influence them on social issues as well. It’s not that they can’t. It’s that they choose not to.

  31. Naja pallida says:

    The wing of the GOP controlling the narrative right now doesn’t care what’s good for business. They’ve destroyed education, which has made for a skilled labor shortage. They’re trying to destroy healthcare, which makes for billions of dollars in lost productivity. They’re actively advocating for discrimination, which is simply poor business policy – everybody’s money is green, isn’t it? They’re actively denying people a living wage, which puts more onus on public services, while working to eliminate those services turning people into wage slaves. They’re anti-immigration, which puts a huge strain on industries fundamental to our survival, like farming and construction. They refuse to spend any money on infrastructure improvements, which is strangling our economy. And as icing on the shit cake, they’re rabidly pro-war, which costs us trillions for zero net gain.

  32. Naja pallida says:

    The problem is, the anti-gay candidates also happen to be the corporate tools that will allow the Kochs to get away without paying taxes, or having to abide by any kind of regulation or restriction on how they do business. The amount of money they stand to make from that is exponentially more than they could ever hope to make by simply being less discriminatory – even when discrimination is bad business. The Kochs don’t care at all about the religious right, and their social positions, either, but they will spend to support their candidates for the same reasons. The Kochs don’t care really care about anything except the amount of money they can make, and that means supporting the candidates that are going to let them get away with as much as possible, regardless of any secondary consequences. They’re too rich to care how the masses are squabbling over social issues that don’t actually affect them.

  33. Don Chandler says:

    It’s called hedging. He gives money to anti-gay causes and sentiment to gay causes.

  34. Houndentenor says:

    I think Roberts is going to join the majority on gay marriage so he can write the opinion and narrow the scope of the decision. Alito may or may not join him. That has nothing to do with any amicus brief. As for Republicans listening to the Kochs, they do when he’s serious. This is a PR move, not a policy change. Window dressing and nothing more. When he stops donating to anti-gay politicians then I’ll give him credit. Saying he’s for gay rights and then financing anti-gay pols shows how not serious about this issue he really is.

  35. Houndentenor says:

    And yet the Koch brothers will spend a billion dollars in 2015-2016 to elect anti-gay candidates. His signature on an amicus brief is a nice gesture but that’s all. His money goes a long way towards denying gay people equal rights. If he’s serious, he and the other big GOP donors who claim they aren’t social conservatives could make big changes to the party platform. But they aren’t going to so who gives a fuck what they sign unless it’s a check?

  36. therling says:

    Let’s see how the Koch Bros.’ rented Supreme Court Justices Thomas and Scalia rule on this.

  37. Drew2u says:

    Thank the oligarchs for allowing us some rights!

    I wonder how their puppet’s new signing of “right to fire” in Wisconsin squares with Wisconsin’s Fair Employment law? (Sections 111.31-111.395 of the Wisconsin Statute)

  38. The_Fixer says:

    Yes, make no mistake: The Koch’s morality is pliable and predicated on one litmus test – “Is it good for business?” He’s determined that this is good for business, hence his support.

    So far, the “good for business” wing of the Republican party has been joined by the “morality police” wing of the Republican party. Are we seeing this alliance cracking? If so, it will be a most entertaining show.

  39. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    I don’t think anyone will mistake them for decent human beings, but Republicans listen to the Kochs. I doubt they will change the minds of Scalia, Thomas, and Alito, but it might affect Roberts. He’s also concerned with his “legacy”.

  40. S1AMER says:

    Signing on to this is good for business. Koch knows that. If tar-and-feathering us all and marching us all out of town on rails and dumping us into the nearest rivers or lakes was good for business, Koch would do that. So, please, everybody, don’t dare think this man or his brother have a decent bone in either of their bodies.

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