Barbara Bush endorses gay marriage

As Colorado’s state legislature is set to take up the issue of legalizing civil unions, Barbara Bush, daughter of former president George W. Bush, has endorsed gay marriage in New York state.

She refused to be interviewed for an article in The New York Times, but the Times chronicles the long history of presidential relatives coming out publicly with positions that run contrary to those of their presidential relative.

Typically, at least on issues of equality, it is the children and spouses of Republican presidents and presidential candidates who come out with more liberal views.

From The Times:

Barbara Bush, one of the twin daughters of George W. Bush, will endorse same-sex marriage on Tuesday, publicly breaking ranks with a father who, as president, pushed for a constitutional amendment banning such unions.

Ms. Bush, 29, has taped a video calling on New York to legalize gay marriage. A bill to do that was defeated in the state in 2009. She describes the issue as a matter of conscience and equality.

“I am Barbara Bush, and I am a New Yorker for marriage equality,” she says in the brief message, sponsored by an advocacy group. “New York is about fairness and equality. And everyone should have the right to marry the person that they love.”

The video ends with Ms. Bush, who lives in Manhattan, imploring the state’s residents to “join us.”

Ms. Bush is the latest child of a prominent Republican leader to embrace same-sex marriage, long considered anathema to the conservative movement. Gay rights advocates have been quick to seize on the generational split as evidence that the acceptance of same-sex marriage is blind to party affiliation and family values.

Meghan McCain, the daughter of John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, has become an outspoken supporter of same-sex marriage, despite her father’s opposition to it. And Mary Cheney, the lesbian daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, has forcefully backed it as well — and is widely credited with helping to persuade her father to do the same.

In the case of Mr. McCain, Mr. Cheney and Mr. Bush, it is not just their children who have supported it. So, to varying degrees, have their wives. Laura Bush, in a television interview in May, said, “When couples are committed to each other and love each other” they should have “the same sort of rights that everyone has.”

Ms. McCain, a blogger and author, has said it is unhealthy for members of political families to paper over disagreements on issues of social justice merely to project an image of harmony. “Wives and children should be able to speak their piece,” she said in a television interview last year. “I think it shows healthy dynamics within a family. We shouldn’t all think one way, and think one thing.”

Meanwhile, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers last week joined in a lawsuit defending the Defense of Marriage Act.

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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