President Obama’s expected nominee as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation was among the 131 Republicans who signed a legal brief asking the Supreme Court to strike down California’s Proposition 8.
Jim Comey, who served as deputy attorney general during the Bush administration, signed the brief that was delivered to the court in February.
Other names on the brief included Republican notables such as gay former Republican National Committee Chair Ken Mehlman, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr. and former California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman.
Obama is expected to announce the nomination on Friday. Before becoming deputy attorney general, Comey, 52, served for 15 years as a federal prosecutor, including several years as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. Additionally, he’s served as a member of the Defense Legal Policy Board, a group charged with advising the defense secretary on major defense policy issues.
Gregory Angelo, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans, said Comey’s nomination and support for marriage equality demonstrates Republicans can advance while supporting LGBT rights.
“No one should be defined by a single position — especially not the director of the FBI, but clearly Comey’s nomination shows that support for civil marriage for same-sex couples isn’t the career killer ‘so-cons’ say it is,” Angelo said. “It’s also nice to see President Obama looking to yet another Bush administration alum to lead on national security.”
According to the Washington Post, Comey left the Justice Department in 2005 and served as vice president and senior counsel at the defense contractor Lockheed Martin. He has worked at Bridgewater Associates, a Connecticut-based hedge fund, and now teaches national security law at Columbia University.
Fred Sainz, vice president of communications at the Human Rights Campaign, spoke highly of Comey and said his nomination represents a change from when the FBI kicked out employees for being gay 60 years ago:
Six decades after J. Edgar Hoover created a “Sex Deviate” program to investigate, red-flag and target gay and lesbian federal employees, today’s nominee for FBI Director not only supports marriage equality, but he’s a Republican to boot. Comey signed onto the groundbreaking GOP amicus brief filed in the Prop 8 case earlier this year.
Not only that, but the FBI he inherits will, next year, begin releasing hate crimes data that, for the very first time, include both sexual orientation and gender identity-based crimes (sexual orientation-only data has been kept since the 1990s). Following the rash of hate-motivated violence and even murder in New York City, this data will only improve the investigation and prosecution of these despicable crimes.
Clearly this is not your grandfather’s FBI. And we can all be glad for that.