George W. Bush reportedly sought to officiate same-sex wedding in 2013

In his pursuit of multiple presidential terms, George W. Bush cast himself as an all-American, born again believer who would protect and advance Evangelical conservatives’ deeply-held religious belief that “on the third day, God created the Remington bolt-action rifle so that man could hunt the dinosaurs…and the homosexuals.”

In his first bid for the White House, he warned America about “special rights” for the LGBT community. In advance of his second, he championed a constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage. In both cases, he pushed all of the right buttons in the Evangelical community, turning them into one of the most influential voting blocs in the American electorate.

He sold this image so passionately that even many on the left believed it. Sure, we all thought he was an idiot, but at least on social issues we thought he was a genuine idiot.

We were wrong. It was almost certainly all for show.

It made national headlines in 2013 when Bush attended and served as a witness at the wedding of  Bonnie Clement and Helen Thorgalsen. However, as hinted in a Boston Globe article on Saturday, Bush apparently offered to do more. Per the Globe:

Some mornings, Bush drops into H.B. Provisions, a cozy general store owned by Bonnie Clement and her wife, Helen Thorgalsen (George H.W. Bush made international headlines when he attended their wedding in 2013; George W. Bush offered to perform the ceremony but had a scheduling conflict).

As Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade noted on Sunday, this is news beyond what we previously knew about Bush’s involvement at the Clement/Thorgalsen wedding. Officiating same-sex weddings is the stuff of liberal Gay-o-crats and their associated Supreme Court Justices, not theocon ex-presidents who made a career out of trying to prevent such weddings from ever taking place.

George Bush delivers a State of the Union address, via Wikimedia Commons

George Bush delivers a State of the Union address, via Wikimedia Commons

A spokesperson for Bush told the Blade that the former president doesn’t remember making the offer to Clement and Thorgalsen — a response to an uncomfortable question that we can’t say doesn’t sound familiar — to which Matt Viser, the author of the Globe story, would only say that he intends to let his reporting stand for itself.

As Gregory Angelo of Log Cabin Republicans pointed out in the Blade article, if Bush 43 does in fact support marriage equality, it would leave Jimmy Carter as the lone living president who has not yet shifted their position on the issue since leaving office to conform to widespread public opinion. Carter has previously supported nationwide marriage equality, before later saying that the issue should be left to the states.

In any case, I think we’ve struck on an answer for all of those Republican candidates who can’t figure out what to say when asked if they’d attend a gay wedding: “Sure, I’d go to one. I’d even officiate it. I’d just do whatever I could to prevent it from happening before I was invited.”


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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10 Responses to “George W. Bush reportedly sought to officiate same-sex wedding in 2013”

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  2. Earthman says:

    Jeb Bush is a carbon copy of his brother.So its 4 more years of B.S. If another Bush gets to the White house.

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  6. Earthman says:

    Can convicted war criminals marry folks?I guess so.

  7. The_Fixer says:

    I would only be concerned about G.W. Bush if he ever decided to run for political office, or if he was being considered for some influential appointment. Dog catcher would be OK, I don’t think he’d be very effective at it. He deserves to only be remembered for what he did wrong. Obviously, he’s not going to be prosecuted for his crimes, so it is best to ignore him unless he starts gaining some influence.

    It disappoints me that Carter used the “State’s Rights” bullshit argument. As Indigo points out below, it’s nothing but an admission that you are a Confederate. At one point, I thought he was one of the rare breed of actually compassionate evangelical Christians. Now, I wonder if there is such a thing, and if he would build a house for a gay couple, were he presented the opportunity.

  8. Bronxboy47 says:

    It all makes perfect sense if you belong to the elite class in any country that believes it’s entitled to do whatever it pleases by virtue of its status and power. Restrictions and prohibitions are only for the common folks, the hoi polloi. After all, what’s the sense of being rich, powerful, and connected if you can’t do exactly as you please.

  9. Indigo says:

    One caveat: today’s Confederates are not only in the South, they are everywhere. Wisconsin and New Jersey along with Indiana should recognize what sits in their governors’ residences. There’s three new Confederate states already!

  10. Indigo says:

    A Confederate of any stripe will show his hand as soon as (s)he says ” that the issue should be left to the states.” States’ rights was and remains the true touch stone of the Confederacy in all its guises, including that nice old gentleman who sells fried chicken, dear old Jimmy the peanut farmer, and yes, that pirate in Tallahassee as well as the bespectacled spectacle in Texas. Slavery, integration, medicare, those are the old and new arenas of the same issue, states’ rights. And that’s what makes a Confederate so easily recognized. Let’s get old-fashioned now and call those right wing nut jobs by their true name, they’re Confederates! Their platform is the same one that fired on Fort Sumter over 150 years ago. The shooting may be over but the shouting is not.

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