Since last year’s Supreme Court decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act—authored by another Reagan appointee, Justice Anthony Kennedy—federal judges have invalidated all or part of nine states’ gay-marriage bans. In addition to Friedman in Michigan, another Republican appointee, Judge John Heyburn, ruled that Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. Heyburn had been recommended for the court by Senator Mitch McConnell and appointed by George H.W. Bush…

Fast forward to today: Bush’s onetime campaign manager, Ken Mehlman, came out in The Atlantic in 2010 and is now a strategist and fundraiser for gay marriage nationally. More than 100 prominent Republicans signed onto a Supreme Court brief in support of gay marriage last year; 20 Western GOPers, including former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson, endorsed a similar appellate-court brief this month. The brief was authored by a Denver lawyer who had served as counsel to Mitt Romney’s campaign in Colorado, and who told the New York Times it was about “liberty and freedom.”

It’s not just lawmakers and consultants—it’s voters, too. A New York Times/CBS News poll last month found 40 percent of Republicans support gay marriage, up from just 24 percent in September 2012. Young Republicans are partly responsible: A Pew poll this month found 61 percent of Republicans under 30 support gay marriage. But that doesn’t suffice to explain the phenomenon. “We’re witnessing more than just generational turnover,” Tyler Deaton, campaign manager for Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry, wrote in a memo on the GOP shift scheduled to be released Wednesday. “Conservatives are changing their minds.”