Brett Tolman, the former U.S. Attorney for Utah, announced his change of heart on gay marriage as the Supreme Court heard arguments on the legality of the hot button issue this week.
Tolman, a Republican who served as the state’s top federal prosecutor from July 2006 to December 2009, told his home-state newspaper that his position on same-sex marriage evolved over the years after his sister, Dayna, announced she was a lesbian.
Dayna, a resident of Washington state, was married last Friday to Tammy Snow in Seattle after a 29-year relationship, the newspaper reported. Their adopted son, Tre, was their ring bearer.
“This is a crossroads for our generation,” Tolman told The Salt Lake Tribune. “I’ve often asked myself, ‘What kind of lawyer would I have been at an historical crossroads, [such as] fighting for African-American rights and equality?’ This was my moment and my family’s moment.”
Tolman co-wrote a friend-of-the court brief in support of gay marriage on behalf of the Utah Pride Center and came to Washington, D.C., to try and attend the oral arguments.
Tolman’s announcement comes on the heels of similar statements from GOP officials, like Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who said he was endorsing gay marriage because his son had come out to him.
Jean Podrasky, a cousin of Chief Justice John Roberts, attended Tuesday’s hearing on California’s Proposition 8 in seating reserved for family members and guests of the justices.
“Everyone in this country has a family member who is part of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community,” she wrote in a column sent on Monday to members of the San Francisco-based National Center for Lesbian Rights.
Tolman, an appointee of President George W. Bush and the former legal counsel to Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, is now a partner at the Salt Lake City law firm of Ray Quinney & Nebeker.