Jeb Bush Blows ‘Religious Liberty’ Dog Whistle in New Statement on Gay Marriage in Florida

Former Florida governor and 2016 presidential hopeful Jeb Bush released a new statement today responding to the start of marriage equality in that state.

Jeb_bush"We live in a democracy, and regardless of our disagreements, we have to respect the rule of law. I hope that we can show respect for the good people on all sides of the gay and lesbian marriage issue – including couples making lifetime commitments to each other who are seeking greater legal protections and those of us who believe marriage is a sacrament and want to safeguard religious liberty."

The remarks are clearly a more calculated response (using the religious right's newly-popular victimization rhetoric)  following  spontaneous comments offered on Sunday following a golf match, in which he suggested that gay marriage should be put to a public vote.

Said Bush on Sunday:

“It ought be a local decision. I mean, a state decision. The state decided. The people of the state decided. But it’s been overturned by the courts, I guess.”

The DNC blasted Bush in a statement:

“It took Jeb Bush 69 words to say absolutely nothing — 69 words not to say, ‘I support marriage equality.’ Nothing’s changed,” DNC communications director Mo Elleithee said in a statement. “At the end of Bush’s statement, he still had the same position: he opposes the right of gay and lesbian Floridians — and all LGBT Americans — to get married and adopt children."

Gay couples began marrying earlier today in Miami-Dade County. Marriage equality takes effect statewide after midnight, when a couple will be married live on YouTube in Key West.


  1. Paul B. says

    I use “Bush Be Gone” to get rid of unwanted, irrelevant growth in my back yard. Now, where is my herbicide sprayer?

  2. jmartindale says

    Oh Goodie! We can have a marriage as long as it fits within their religious sensibilities. Remember, all you queers, it is okay to be married now as long as they can still discriminate against us on the basis of “strongly held religious beliefs.”

  3. daws says

    Like with women’s rights and ethnic minorities, gays rights will push on regardless of old white men such as Bush.

    Plus side: He’s 61, won’t be president, and is inching closer to death.

  4. john patrick says

    Dog whistle – whistle and Jeb comes running…..Just a taste of what we would have under another Bush presidency.

  5. Paul R says

    Pandering to both sides is never an effective political strategy, but it doesn’t matter because he lacks charisma and has been mealy mouthed on this and many other issues. He’s not popular among a lot of Republicans, and most Americans realize that the other two Bushes weren’t exactly stellar presidents.

  6. michael in nyc says

    The shameless pandering and moral emptiness of Bush’s statement tells you everything you need to know about that soulless hack.

    The Banality of Evil lives on, as always, in the Family Bush.

  7. aki says

    looks like the US is better than North Korea . At least there is a choice between two families .

  8. Chrislam says

    Isn’t Jeb Bush interracially married to a hispanic woman? Not too long ago that was not allowed.

    I’m sure Jeb thought slavery was ok too since it used to be legal.

  9. Patric says

    This is classic Bush Brothers when it comes to dealing with questions of gay rights. Both – Shrub 1 in Texas and at the White House and Shrub 2 in Florida – have consistently given right-wing bigots what they’ve wanted on policy and judges but each has also, with much complicity from the press, sought to obscure his extreme record for broader audiences.

    The National Gay & Lesbian Task Force documented this pattern in the case of Shrub 1, concluding as follows: “The Bush Administration has been careful to cultivate this image of moderation, and the mainstream media often portrays Bush as moderate on gay issues.3 However, despite his statements of tolerance and moderation, Bush has consistently aligned himself with right-wing causes and policies, and his anti-gay record is clear.” and

    A perfect example of this was Shrub 1’s response in a debate to the question whether he considered homosexuality immoral. A straightforward question which deserved a “yes” or “no” answer, but Shrub 1 seized on the question as an opportunity to send different messages to different groups without actually answering the question directly and he got away with it thanks to the incompetence of the moderator. Shrub 1 simply stated that he was mindful that we “all are sinners”. The haters understandably took this as a “yes”, as Shrub 1 intended that they do, while more moderate voters who would have been turned off by a forthright “yes” were not alienated.

    Shrub 2 is doing the same thing here. When running for governor, he asked in a 1994 op-ed, “Should sodomy be elevated to the same constitutional status as race and religion? My answer is No.” He knows that he can no longer be so forthright and that the Repugs’ general election candidate could be harmed by appearing too stridently anti-gay. As such, we can expect that he will spend the coming months telegraphing Repug primary voters that they can count on him to be as reliably anti-gay as he and his brother have been to-date in their governing careers, while couching those messages in words meant to impress more moderate voters with the “respect” he has for those whose rights to equality he would deny. It is not surprising to see the press complicit in this dance but we must do our part to make sure that he doesn’t get away with it.

  10. Bill Michael says

    Of course you know the Bush family has ruled America for generations and it is now their turn to take back the throne, that is, if they can break it loose from the icy grip of the Clintons. I guess either of them beats the heck out of Mike “gays should be put to death” Huckabee.

  11. Boxer says

    Agree with all the anti-Bush comments of course, but isn’t it surprising how the DNC spokesperson attacked Bush? I mean the Democrats have hardly been front and center on this issue, and almost all the big victories have come through the courts. The president only started publicly supporting it two years ago, but in that short span of time it seems gay marriage has been adopted as a core tenet of the Democrats.

  12. MickyFlip says

    I am not looking forward to having to deal another four years with the Bush’s and the Clintons. I’m done w both of them and have no desire to want to vote for either coming up.

  13. disgusted american says

    like I’d ever vote GOP…in the words of the wicked witch in “Oz the Great and Powerful” …”NEVER”!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Caligula says

    America isn’t fooled. America will never elect a fat bigoted POS like Jeb as POTUS. Those days are gone.

  15. Randy says

    “the good people on all sides of the gay and lesbian marriage issue”

    There are a handful of people who oppose same-sex marriage based on some idealized version of gay relationships, and a recognition that marriage is not a good institution.

    But the vast majority of people who oppose same-sex marriage are nothing other than your average bigot, with hate in their heart, and glee in their eye.