Former President George H.W. Bush Attends Same-Sex Wedding As Witness. Does This Mean He’s Pro Marriage Equality?


Perhaps it’s the quietest endorsement of marriage equality in recent memory or more likely its just a show of support for two old friends, but former President George H.W. Bush was a witness at a same-sex wedding in Maine last weekend, reports Washington Post.

The photo shows the 41st president seated in a wheelchair signing a document. One bright red sock and the other bright blue — so WASPy — peek out beneath the cuffs of his blue slacks.

A rep for the Republican former president confirmed that Bush the Elder and his wife, former First Lady Barbara, attended the wedding as “private citizens attending a private ceremony for two friends” but suggests the Bushes weren’t making a political statement.

Those two friends have been identified as Bonnie Clement and Helen Thorgalsen, who co-won the general store in  Kennebunk, Maine, where the summer home of the 41st president is located. Same-sex marriage became legal in Maine last December.

Clement emailed WaPo from the couple’s honeymoon in London to she and Thorgalsen have known the Bushes for years and were thrilled they accepted the wedding invitation. Thinking about “how monumental this time is in our lives” and “how blessed we are to be in their lives,” they decided to ask them “to really personalize it for us” as witnesses.


Photo: Washington Post/Helen Thorgalsen and Bonnie Clement

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  • Red Meat

    That’s cute. At least he won’t die a bigot.

  • John Doe

    @Red Meat: Who knows when he “evolved” on this issue. It could have been many years ago…. long before Obama decided to wake up on this issue.

  • brent

    It will be fun reading the liberal comments on this

  • Miss Understood

    Ick. Among other things Bush backed an anti-same sex marriage amendment.

    Sorry, it’s too little too late. I know they exist, I know, I know, but I’m still can’t help but be shocked that those women would even want that war criminal at their wedding. Just gross.

  • jeff4justice

    2-party system evil empire scumbag.

  • GreatGatsby2011

    @Miss Understood: Wrong president. Try again.

  • Miss Understood

    @GreatGatsby2011: Whoops! My mistake. Well, anyway, gays who support Republicans are just deluded. Doing “nice” things in your personal life does not make up for the evil things in your political life.

  • Caleb in SC

    @Miss Understood: I agree. Things like his just expose the hypocrisy inherent in the GOP.

  • ParkerSparx

    @Miss Understood:
    There are a number of pro-gay marriage Republicans. Lisa Murkowski(R-Ak)believes that allowing gays into marriage will make it a stronger institution and will enhance family stability.

    This year over 80 Republicans signed a brief in favor of gay marriage and there are a number of Democrats that are ANTI gay marriage. Just because there is a D after their name doesn’t make them all sympathetic to our causes. Research then as individuals, not as an entire party.

  • Deepdow

    @Miss Understood:

    Before people are republicans or democrats, remember, they’re human. Too much polarization in America right now with politics.
    I think their attending a same-sex wedding is wonderful and so should you.

  • zrocqs

    @ParkerSparx: If I’m not mistaken, there are a total of three Republican senators who say they support Gay marriage, but none are willing to break with the party platform to actively support us by introducing or sponsoring legislation. They talk the talk as long as they don’t have to get of their asses and walk the walk.

    Also, the number of Republicans who signed the amicus brief was fewer than 80, and none were current office holders.

    This kind of flaccid support isn’t a new phenomenon. Barbara Bush was famous for wearing a red AIDS ribbon during 41’s re-election bid in ’92, but only in small groups that were already sympathetic, and never when cameras were around. And Laura Bush initially signed the aforementioned amicus brief and then withdrew her support at the behest of the Bush family. These people can’t even be considered fair-weather friends.

    Bumper stickers are more effective.

  • jwrappaport

    When did respecting the dignity of other humans become a political statement? Bush can send his well-wishes back a decade or two when people might have cared and when it actually would have mattered.

    @jeff4justice: We get it. You don’t like the two-party system. Goosfraba.

  • ParkerSparx

    @zrocqs: Politico posted a list back in Feb/Mar that lists over 80 influential Republicans in favor. I believe that several were serving.

    Mrs. Bush(Laura) has publicly stated her support in several interviews. Her husband has not. She has said their views differ. Her daughter, Barbara, has also voiced her support multiple times.

    Look at the number of Democrats that have flip-flopped on the issues. Most were virulently
    anti gay marriage until recently.

  • sportsguy1983

    I love the double standard shown President Bush 41 and President Clinton. All I have to say is hypocrite. I love hearing/reading how people try to justify the difference between the two on this issue. lol

  • AndreaBernard

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  • BJ McFrisky

    Let me get this straight:

    If Obama even utters the word “gay,” he’s a god-like ally.
    If a Bush attends a same-sex wedding, it’s for scheming and underhanded and political reasons.

    Got it.

  • brent

    @BJ McFrisky: I think the problem is that some liberals don’t want to lose their enemies. They need the boogeyman to make sure gays only vote the entire liberal agenda. I mean issues that have nothing to do with being gay, like gin, economics, keystone pipeline etc.

  • Niall

    A far as I’m aware, I’ve seen a few Republicans say they wouldn’t turn down an invitation to a gay wedding, does that mean they’re pro-gay marriage though? Doubt it.

  • John Doe

    The responses of some here are not surprising. As had been said, if someone is a Democrat they can do zero wrong to some people. If they are a Republican then they are evil.

    How quickly these people forget that both Obama and Hillary didn’t support marriage equality until just recently. And, when they both ran for President against each other, both they (and Biden) were 100% for traditional marriage. That goes for the vast majority of Democrats in Washington DC at that time. Let’s not forget that Obama actually fought hard in the courtrooms to uphold DOMA and DADT when he was first President. I credit the courts for dismantling DADT and DOMA, certainly not this President.

    But… these who are beholden to the “D” can’t see any of this.

    It’s only been the last few years that Democrats have rushed to support equality. How amazing that they should all wake up to a civil rights reality at the same time (and when it becomes politically safe for them to do so).

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t favor Republicans. I’m equally disgusted with both parties & see the hypocrisy in both. To many independents both of these parties are beyond terrible when you look at the fundamentals.

    If you aren’t willing to look at a 3rd party then we’ll always be stuck with the same. But, people love to love their own party…. and hate the other. Sort of a “my dad is better than your dad” mentality.

  • biscuit_batter

    @John Doe: Good for ole Mr. Bush but I still think he’s a reptilian:)

  • pauleky

    Seriously? The Republicans had somewhere around nine planks in their platform ins 2012 that were specifically anti-gay. I have zero problem with calling out the Democrats, too, but to state that this somehow makes the GOP better is ludicrous. The vast majority of virulently anti-gay folks vote Republican. It’s simply a fact. A few allies is nice, but they have a LOOONNNGGG way to go.

  • Polaro

    @brent: Sorry, you are barking up the wrong tree. There are a lot of people on this site who HATE EVERYONE. Gay, straight, cool, homophobic pricks, they lump them all together with their snide remarks. They don’t count. I, however, applaud President Bush for this. It is another sign that the war has turned decidedly in our favor. But, lest we forget how badly the GOP has devolved since he was president, President H. W. Bush could not get through a primary for dog catcher in the current GOP. W was and remains an idiot, but H W was a decent president, even if did not agree with everything he did. And now, there is one more thing to like about him.

  • hephaestion

    There are too many typos in this article to read it and understand it.

  • zrocqs

    @ParkerSparx: I haven’t seen the Politico article you mentioned, but the number of Republican signers of the amicus brief presented to the Supreme Court was fewer than 80. And calling any pro-Gay Republicans “influential” is questionable. They obviously have zero influence in the U.S. Senate and House.

    I have no great love for the Democratic party, but they have always been far ahead of Republicans concerning our issues. A few individual Republicans are supporting us, probably in roughly the same way a few Democrats were supporting us way back in the ’70s (I was in high school at the time; I remember). And despite the recent rapid evolution regarding Gay rights (even by some individual Republicans), don’t expect the Republican party platform to change anytime soon. It’ll probably take them a few more decades to relent. The party will not give up until Gay marriage is legal in all 50 states; even then they may hold out.

    As for most Democrats being “virulently” against Gay marriage until recently: No. Failure to do what was right was cowardly, but few Democrats have ever been “virulently” against anything. It’s not in their nature. And (surprise?) I’m not a Democrat. I’ve been a registered Independent since way back in the (wait for it) ’70s.

  • LadyL

    @John Doe: Indeed? A shame Mr. Bush didn’t “wake up” while either he, his predecessor, or his frat-boy son were in office when such enlightenment might have, you know, saved a few lives or something.

Comments are closed.