Gay Marriage | George W. Bush | Laura Bush | Michelle Obama

Laura Bush: Publicly Supporting Marriage Equality 'Was Not My Responsibility...I Just Didn’t See That As Part of My Role'

Back in April, Andy wrote about the revelation, which came via an excerpt from Laura Bush's memoir, that the former first lady had nudged her husband at the time of the 2004 elections to "not (make) gay marriage a significant issue." "We have, I reminded him, a number of close friends who are gay or whose children are gay," she apparently explained. Bush is now talking about the issue again, time the thanks to some prodding from the Texas Tribune who asked her why she didn't speak publicly about it while living in the White House.

Lb TT: "Let’s talk a little bit about that responsibility. You found yourself back in the headlines not so long ago for taking positions on gay marriage and abortion that appeared to be at odds with your husband and with the GOP. What do you say to the critics who argue you had a responsibility to come forward sooner, or who suggest you maybe hid those opinions from view?"

Bush: "Well, I didn’t hide them from view. They were very well known from the first day George was elected, when Katie Couric asked me the question. I’m not elected. I was not elected. George is. He’s the one who’s elected. I was not the elected official. It was not my responsibility, I didn’t think, to speak out in ways to get in some sort of debate with him. I just didn’t see that as part of my role."

In the interview, Bush is also asked if she is friendly with Michelle Obama. Said Bush: "there’s a friendship that develops between all the first ladies, but, no, I don’t talk to her that often."

Revisit the clip wherein Bush talks to Larry King about marriage equality, AFTER THE JUMP.

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  1. Her role as a human being? She reveals a profound cowardice, at best.

    Posted by: yuck | Oct 16, 2010 1:50:53 PM

  2. I wonder how many wives of German politicians felt the same during WWII?

    Posted by: patrick nyc | Oct 16, 2010 1:51:44 PM

  3. So she didn't want to vocally oppose civil rights for gays because it would affect some of her personal friends. Good to know that civil rights are only important to her when she or her friends and family benefit from them.

    What a twat.

    Posted by: Kurt | Oct 16, 2010 2:00:05 PM

  4. Ditto Yuck & Patrick. And, what about as a professed Christian. This attitude is at the core of GOP values..."not my problem, not my responsibility."

    Posted by: Mark | Oct 16, 2010 2:03:06 PM

  5. She's absolutely correct. She was not the elected official. The reason I disliked Hillary Clinton so much while Bill was in office was because of her outspoken nature. The people elect the First Lady by default and, therefore, she should stay in the background.

    And are you really comparing gay rights to Nazis, WWII, and extermination of an entire people? I'm sorry, but as much as I'd like the right to serve in the army and marry my boyfriend, that comparison is inappropriate and, frankly, insulting.

    Posted by: Samuel | Oct 16, 2010 2:06:13 PM

  6. SAMUEL, were you around when her father-in-law ignored AIDS? Were you around when her husband started a war in Iraq, built on lies? That killed thousands of our soldiers and hundreds of thousand innocent people there?

    Every first lady, as with any marriage or relationship, has influence on their partners. She just chose to sit silent. Like she did after killing her neighbor, when she was driving drunk after a dance in high school. The woman is trash.

    Doesn't Glenn Beck, or Fox News have a blog you can troll on?

    Posted by: patrick nyc | Oct 16, 2010 2:15:50 PM

  7. Ok, Patrick, what does what her father-in-law or the IRaq war have to do with this? And, yes, I was around. And, no, I don't appreciate your attitude.

    Just because I disagree with you I should go to Fox News? I am in no way a troll and I recognize the first lady has influence on their partners. How do you know that Laura and George didn't discuss this while he was in office? You don't.

    Posted by: Samuel | Oct 16, 2010 2:24:12 PM

  8. Samuel, my little troll, if you had a clue you would read what she said, "It was not my responsibility, I didn’t think, to speak out in ways to get in some sort of debate with him. I just didn’t see that as part of my role." If she did not want to get into a debate, they at least had spoken about it.

    Clearly we disagree, I think it is your responsibility when you see something wrong top speak up. Even her mother-in-law, Barbra Bush did, about her pro-choice stance, which Bush Sr. shared until he crawled into bed with Reagan. Barbra took heat when she said so in public, but stood her ground in many an interview.

    That is my point. Her husband was pushed into the Iraq war by Cheney and the right wing, clearly she knew this, if not from them talking, from all the press saying so at the time.

    As for my 'attitude' too bad, I don't suffer fools gladly.

    Posted by: patrick nyc | Oct 16, 2010 2:36:57 PM

  9. @Samuel: I sympathize with the idea that the spouse of a president isn't an elected official (unless she is, as becme the case with Senator Clinton), but Hillary also was the first President's spouse ever to have her level of education, which happened to be focused on exactly the kind of background and knowledge that a president would look for in his advisors.

    Reagarding the notion that WWII, the Nazis and human extermination have nothing to do with gay rights: It's as if you have no idea of the origins of the symbolic Pink Triangle. The Nazis stripped gay people of all human rights during WWII and attempted to locate, identify (with Pink Triangles) and unlitimately exterminate them all.
    There were hate crimes laws in the United States that provided federal resources to protect virtually everyone EXCEPT gays; we saw a homophobic murderer get away with a "Twinkie defense" in San Fracisco while gay-sympathetic jurors were barred; The Iranian government is killing scores of gay people on trumped-up charges; and the "Kill-the-gays" bill is being debated in Uganda.
    Any such dehumanization of gay people should be a reminmder of the ugly legacy that is still left with us in which gay people's lives are considered either worth less or worthless. That's how the Nazis saw us and we need to work to end those notions around the world, without forgetting our history.

    Posted by: GregV | Oct 16, 2010 2:50:31 PM

  10. I don't see Michelle Obama speaking publicly that she disagrees with her husband on this issue either.

    Posted by: WIT | Oct 16, 2010 2:59:55 PM

  11. None of you get it. If Laura publicly disagreed with George, privately, he'd beat her. He would have beaten the shit out of her...because george bush is okay with domestic violence...and beats his wife. Besides, barbara told her on her wedding that if she ever did anything that annoyed her, she would do an honor killing.

    Posted by: TANK | Oct 16, 2010 3:02:25 PM

  12. That made me laugh, Tank.

    Posted by: Jimmy | Oct 16, 2010 3:10:46 PM

  13. I agree in principle with Laura Bush, actually.

    The thing about Hillary Clinton was that in that 1992, the Clintons specifically campaigned on the entire idea that you were getting 2 for 1 if Bill Clinton was elected.

    So I think that Hillary really WAS part of that package that we got when Bill Clinton was elected.

    Not every First Lady chooses to be an Eleanor Roosevelt or a Hillary Clinton nor should they have to.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Oct 16, 2010 3:10:56 PM

  14. Thank you, GREGV. You saved me from having to type.

    And TANK. TANK, TANK, TANK. What to do with you?

    Posted by: TJ | Oct 16, 2010 3:13:40 PM

  15. The best time to speak out on equal rights is when you have a book to push apparently.

    Posted by: Dave | Oct 16, 2010 3:14:07 PM

  16. If anyone laughed at that, or found it even remotely funny, then you're worse than hitler. You're sick in the head...domestic violence is no laughing matter, except when it's on lifetime. When I think of the years that laura had to have dinner on the table promptly at 6:30 or else she'd catch a beating...well, sleeping with the enemy wasn't all fiction.

    Posted by: TANK | Oct 16, 2010 3:34:13 PM

  17. Where in that video does she say she supports same-sex marriage?

    She says it's an issue we should discuss. She says we should have the same rights (that's called "civil unions".

    And accepting SSM is a "reversal"?

    Lord, crumbs...

    Posted by: BobN | Oct 16, 2010 3:39:19 PM

  18. "I'm just a simple minded women married to a simple minded man. What do you expect me to say out of my bird brain?"

    Posted by: Philo | Oct 16, 2010 4:15:39 PM

  19. I guess, using Laura's logic, that I should not speak out against domestic violence or child abuse. I don't have a wife or kids so it isn't my responsibility.

    But here is the deal... we are ALL responsible for the safety, well-being and fair-treatment of our fellow human brothers and sisters. None of us are exempt from that responsibility, not even if your husband is the President of the United States. And Laura you need to get your head out of your ass before it messes up your hair.

    Posted by: Bryant | Oct 16, 2010 5:27:39 PM

  20. Maybe she just knew she didn't have a snowballs chance in hell of changing anything.

    Posted by: Sgt.Sausagepants | Oct 16, 2010 5:59:21 PM

  21. I love reading all about gay news on Towleroad a day after I've read about it everywhere else. It's like a lovely echo that lets me consider a news story one more time as it is circling the drain

    Posted by: Christopher | Oct 16, 2010 7:18:46 PM

  22. George Bush is gone....history. Laura Bush is a footnote in history books. Why do some people still get excitable over Bush? Unless you're intellectually challenged, you should realize by now politicians at the federal level all act alike once in power. Many are friends and business associates behind the scenes.

    Posted by: ratbastardh | Oct 16, 2010 8:43:09 PM

  23. While it was not her role, there are times when you have to make a decision and take a stand. She needs to simply grow up and admit that equality for gay people was not that important to her. She's was willing to ignore some friends, indeed entire segments of the population, so her husband could be politically comfortable. Now she wants the benefit of pretending to be friendly, as if we weren't almost written out of the US constitution by the man she sleeps with. Maybe she's great now. Wonderful. But let's not sugar-coat the past, honey.

    Posted by: Randy | Oct 16, 2010 8:51:06 PM

  24. She is absolutely correct. If partners of elected officials start coming out in public fora on every single disagreement that they have on a political issue, it will be a mess.

    I am from India, and I have never seen the President's husband or the Prime Minister's wife coming out in public against them. In fact I don't even know how the President's husband looks like. They ought to stay low-key and should not misuse the political work done by their partners, to their own advantage.

    Posted by: ABHAY | Oct 17, 2010 12:45:02 AM

  25. "I am from India"

    Welcome to America! Things are different here, thankfully. What's right, and what's convenient are two very different things that seldom intersect. Most people are like laura, though: apathetic cowards (and many cowards aren't apathetic). I never thought I'd believe it, but to often, to be good (maximize the preferred outcome for the most participants to the fun and games) requires disregarding certain getting slapped in the face repeatedly and called a stupid bitch (in laura's case)...for others. Hard to be good, and it might not worth it for you...but sacrifice is almost always required...because ain't no such thing as free...or easy...except in jenna's case (she's easy).

    Posted by: TANK | Oct 17, 2010 1:05:46 AM

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