Bush Family Marriage Tree

The Bush Family Is Pretty Supportive Of Marriage Equality — With Some Notable Exceptions

Did you ever think you’d live to see the day when former President George Bush not only attended a same-sex wedding but actually signed the marriage certificate as an official witness? Of course, this is Bush pere, not fils, but still. George H.W. was an honored guest on Sept. 21 at the wedding of Bonnie Clement and Helen Thorgalsen in Kennebunkport, ME. The other official witness: Bush’s wife and former first lady Barbara Bush.

It’s kind of hard not to read this as an official endorsement of marriage equality, though the Bush’s spokesman simply said that the couple were attending a private ceremony. However, George and Barbara are hardly out of step with the rest of the family. In fact, a look at the Bush family shows that there are only a couple of high-profile holdouts when it comes to marriage equality. And, no surprise, given the state of the GOP, they are the ones closest to elected office.

Here’s a rundown of where the Bushes stand on marriage.


George W. Bush

The former president famously made a feast on homophobia, and in particular marriage homophobia, in 2004, using the issue as a key get-out-the-vote strategy for evangelicals. Since leaving office in 2009, W. has been by and large silent on most public issues, including his father’s witnessing a same-sex marriage, but he did get asked about marriage equality during an trip to Africa last July. At the time, Bush got all Biblical, saying, ““I shouldn’t be taking a speck out of someone else’s eye when I have a log in my own.” (Forest is more like it.) Asked later to elaborate, all Bush would say is “it’s very important for people not to be overly critical of someone else until you’ve examined your own heart.’ After the 2004 campaign, we didn’t know he had one. Bush is the only living ex-president who has not endorsed marriage equality.


Laura Bush

During an appearance on the Larry King show, the former first lady said that same-sex couples “ought to have the same rights that everyone else has.” Not surprisingly, George W.’s wife says that marriage equality is a point of contention between her and her husband. But when a pro-marriage group included a clip of the interview in a public service announcement, Laura objected, and the clip was pulled.


Jeb Bush

In comparison to his brother, the former Florida governor is a beacon of humanity. Of course, he’s still a pretty dim bulb. Jeb has floundered on the issue of marriage equality, trying to have it both ways. He has said he prefers it to be a state-by-state issue, which is a nice way of saying, “I don’t want to take responsibility for actually supporting it.” At the same time, Jeb believes that the “traditional marriage is what should be sanctioned.” Such fence-straddling won’t play in today’s GOP, and if Jeb continues to harbor presidential ambitions, he’ll be hard put to find middle ground on a black-and-white issue.


Barbara Bush

The daughter of George W. has been the Bush most outspoken in her support of marriage equality. She taped a video calling on New York State to pass marriage equality legislation, a public break from her father on the issue. No doubt having a lot of gay friends has helped.


Jenna Bush

Barbara’s twin sister hasn’t tipped her hand publicly about what she thinks of marriage equality. Perhaps her role as a correspondent for the Today show has kept her quiet, or perhaps she’s less inclined to buck her dad publicly. About the most Jenna has offered was an off-hand comment to Ellen DeGeneres when she was preparing to marry Portia de Rossi in 2008. During an appearance on her show, Ellen asked Jenna if she could borrow the Bush ranch for her wedding because it was so private. “Sure,” Jenna replied. That’s the one-word total of her commitment to marriage equality.

Main photo credit: Helen Thorgalsen’s Facebook page

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  • robho3

    Who really cares what the Bush’s think about anything. Papi Bush is so old he doesn’t even know what he is doing—just stick to the sock thing old man.

  • John Doe

    Another article simply to be divisive against Republicans. We could have posted the same type of argument 3 – 4 years ago and talked about the Clintons and OVER HALF of all Democrats in DC. Only when the public was more accepting of equality did these politicians “evolve.” Welcome to politics.

  • jeff4justice

    @John Doe: They could turn the White House into a gay pride house and all of the Democrats and Republicans could attend and they’d still be a charade of thugs who instigate lei-based war, in-effect human slavery, poverty, pollution, and eradication of human rights – except I guess the right to have equality in the regulation of your marriage.

  • jeff4justice

    @John Doe: Sorry, did not meant to @ my comment @ you. Not sure how that happened.

  • yaoming

    I love the picture of Jeb. It looks like the little sign next to him says: “My penis.”

  • Billysees

    @yaoming: 5

    Cute observation…hehe….

  • Harley

    I have great respect for the elder Bush, having helped the Soviet Union collapse peacefully, rather than with civil war, a nice closing out of the Cold War. However, the younger Bush can go suck it. So much hatred and bigotry came out of his piracy of the electorate. First election had to be decided by SCOTUS (Gore won Florida by the way). Second election stolen in Ohio. He would have never won re-election had it not been his hatred of gays and marriage equality, bringing out all the bigots with promises of a constitutional amendment. Barbara Bush had it right. “No More Bushes”.

  • John Doe

    @Harley: Although I think that GW Bush should be put on trial for war crimes, he did more to address HIV and AIDS than Clinton and Obama combined. At the time Bush’s “hatred” of gays was no different than the “hatred” that many Democrats showed. The vast majority of Democrats did not believe in equality until this past year. As well, the Democrats NEVER repealed DOMA or addressed LGBT significantly when they were in control in DC the first 2 years of Obama’s reign. How quickly we forget that fact. As well, Obama defended DOMA and DADT in the federal courts the first few years. Yes, he defended them.

    In regards to the Florida re-count, Gore wanted to cherry pick which counties to re-count. He only chose the most heavily Democratic counties. SCOTUS basically said that this violated Due Process, which is correct. SCOTUS then said that the entire state must be re-counted (but it was too late)…. not cherry picking one’s favorite counties. If anything, Gore is the one who tried to steal the election by playing games with the votes. And, by the way, had Gore gotten the recount that he wanted Bush still would have won…. by 225 votes.

    But, like I said, Bush deserves to go on trial for the atrocities he was responsible for (torture, secret renditions, etc).

    In my opinion our last 3 leaders in Washington severely hurt the USA…. ranging from letting millions of jobs go overseas (which really destroyed employment and a rising standard of living here) to infringing upon the rights of countless people around the world (Gitmo, drone wars, NSA abuses, etc)

  • Caleb in SC

    The vast majority of Republicans under the age of 30 favor marriage equality. The GOP is about to implode.

  • Caleb in SC

    BTW — W. should listen to his wife, who is graceful and lovely.

  • Bozen

    I would love to see an article about the Obama family’s stance fiscal policy now, biting humor and insults included.

    I mean, Queerty is a shining beacon of even-handed blogging, right? Right?

Comments are closed.