Meg Whitman and 74 other top Republican lawmakers and thinkers have signed a legal brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that there is a constitutional right to same sex marriage.

The brief will be submitted this week to the Supreme Court before the court hears arguments next month in a law suit seeking to overturn California Proposition 8, a ban on same sex marriage that Whitman supported during her run for governor. The court is also expect to consider the constitutionality on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a federal ban on marriage equality.

According to The New York Times, the brief represents "a position that amounts to a direct challenge to Speaker John A. Boehner and reflects the civil war in the party since the November election."

Other Republicans signing on included Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL), Rep. Richard Hanna (NY), former Bush security adviser Stephen J. Hadley, former Bush Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, former Reagan Budget Director David A. Stockman and former Rep. Deborah Pryce (OH).

In a column for The American Conservative last week, Mormon former Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman argued that his party must support marriage equality because “the American people will not hear us out if we stand against their friends, family, and individual liberty.”

“Today we have an opportunity to do more: conservatives should start to lead again and push their states to join the nine others that allow all their citizens to marry,” Huntsman explained. “I’ve been married for 29 years. My marriage has been the greatest joy of my life. There is nothing conservative about denying other Americans the ability to forge that same relationship with the person they love.”

But on Sunday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) signaled that party leaders still believed they could win while opposing equal marriage rights.

“Look, I believe in the traditional definition of marriage,” the Louisiana governor told NBC's David Gregory. “Let’s be clear about what happened in this last election. We had an election that was dominated by domestic issues… We still lost an election where a majority of the American people said, ‘We think the federal government is doing too much.’”

"We’re an aspirational party, and we need policies that are consistent with that aspirational private sector growth,” Jindal said.

[Photo: Eugene Berman /]