Laura Bush Opts Out of Gay Marriage Ad Campaign

Photograph by Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Former first lady Laura Bush speaks at the Global Women’s Cancer Summit in Washington on Feb. 4, 2013.

Laura Bush generally steered clear of controversial issues during her eight years as first lady, and that’s a posture she wants to continue.

Although she has voiced support in the past for legalizing same-sex marriage, she didn’t authorize and doesn’t want to be part of a $1 million advertising campaign on the issue that featured her.

Bush appeared in television and print ads paid for by Respect for Marriage, a coalition of faith, civil rights and gay rights groups advocating for same-sex marriage. She was joined in the spots by former Vice President Dick Cheney, who has a lesbian daughter, and former Secretary of Defense Colin Powell, as well as President Barack Obama.

Respect for Marriage cobbled public statements from the four into the campaign that began yesterday. Bush’s remarks were lifted from a 2010 appearance on CNN’s Larry King show, where she said, “When couples are committed to each other and love each other then they ought to have the same sort of rights that everyone has.”

But Bush, a spokeswoman told the Dallas Morning News, “did not approve” of her inclusion, and would like to be removed.

Respect for Marriage is respecting her wishes.

“We appreciate Mrs. Bush’s previous comments but are sorry she didn’t want to be included in an ad,” the group said in a statement today. “The ad launched a public education campaign that will now move to new and different voices that reflect the depth and breadth of our support.”

The coalition will swap the ad — called “Leadership” — for a Bush-free spot called “Stowell.”

The new TV ad features former Marine Cpl. Craig Stowell, who identifies himself as a Republican, sitting with his wife, Berta. “As Americans, we believe in freedom,” he says. “That’s what I fought for as a Marine.”

He goes on to say that his brother is gay: “He was the best man at my wedding. And I want to be the best man at his.”



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