Whitman, who supported Proposition 8 and vowed to defend the voter-approved law against legal challenges during her 2010 gubernatorial bid, is one of dozens high-profile Republicans who signed a legal brief supporting gay marriage that will be submitted this week, according to The New York Times.
The Hewlett-Packard chief executive issued a statement through her LinkedIn page saying that she has come "to embrace same-sex marriage after a period of careful review and reflection."
"As a candidate for governor three years ago, I supported Proposition 8. At the time, I believed the people of California had weighed in on this question and that overturning the will of the people was the wrong approach," she wrote. "The facts and arguments presented during the legal process since then have had a profound impact on my thinking."
She wrote in the statement that the brief she signed argues there is "no legitimate, fact-based reason for providing different legal treatment of committed relationships between same-sex couples." Allowing same-sex marriage to stand in California, she wrote, will "strengthen our nation as a whole."
"Marriage is the fundamental institution that unites a society. It is the single greatest contributor to the well-being of adults and children because it promotes eternal principles like commitment, fidelity and stability," Whitman wrote. "It makes no difference whether the marriage is between a man and woman or a woman and woman. Marriage makes society better."
Whitman has largely stayed out of California political limelight since losing to Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, though she was a major supporter and adviser to Republican Mitt Romney's presidential campaign.
The court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on Proposition 8 next month.
PHOTO CREDIT:Gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman rallies her supporters during a gathering in Sacramento inside the warehouse of American River Packaging Saturday October 30, 2010. Andy Alfaro/The Sacramento Bee.