The battle toward legalizing same-sex marriage, still a slow-moving and uphill process, has gained an unlikely ally: Laura Bush.
From The Huffington Post:
Former First Lady Laura Bush has found herself back in the news after an appearance on “Larry King Live” in which she discussed the differences of opinion she had with her husband, President George W. Bush, on abortion and gay rights. During her interview, she cast the issue of gay marriage as something that “will come,” owing to a “generational” shift in opinion on the matter.
You know what? My esteem for Laura Bush went up, like, tenfold after reading about this. I mean, there’s no question that the lady supports gay marriage. She told Larry King:
I think there are a lot of people who have trouble coming to terms with that because they see marriage as traditionally between a man and a woman, but I also know that when couples are committed to each other and love each other that they ought to have the same sort of rights that everyone has.
I was also very impressed that she spoke publicly of disagreeing with her husband on numerous issues. When George W. Bush was President, I found his wife to be pretty milquetoast. She always seemed to be by his side smiling in a clichéd wifely manner that seemed a twisted throwback to an earlier decade. The fact that she is now speaking out about her support for gay marriage (and her belief that Roe versus Wade should not be overturned) is a tremendous boost.
She’s taking some flack for it, though. A spokeswoman for Focus on the Family, a conservative Christian group, had this to say:
“It’s disappointing to hear Laura Bush, who is a well respected and admired former first lady, espouse positions on marriage and the value of human life that are contrary not only to her husband’s but arguably, according to polls, in conflict with the majority of Americans.”
What I love is that Laura Bush had a reasonable, scientifically backed reason to explain her position. Her argument, based on research conducted by Jeffrey Lax and Justin Phillips entitled “Gay Rights in the States: Public Opinion and Policy Responsiveness”, is that the most strident opponents to gay marriage will be … well, uh, dead soon enough, and their opinions won’t matter at all then.
This probably isn’t a very nice way of putting it, but basically, the most significant segment of the population that opposes gay marriage is the one that’s closest to death. Obviously, gay marriage will be coming to some states sooner than others, but the tide toward marriage equality is inexorable.
It’s the nature of things that every new generation tends to be skeptical of those that came before it. It’s just a pity that so many Americans are going to reflect upon the way their parents and grandparents approached this issue and find themselves feeling deeply embarrassed.
While the crux of this story isn’t necessarily unique—Cindy McCain, for example, came out in support of gay marriage despite her husband’s vocal opposition—I find it almost heartwarming. I had sort of a Stepford vibe from Laura Bush, and it warms my heart to know that I might have been wrong.
Are you surprised by this action? Do you think Laura Bush’s support will make any sort of difference to the cause of same-sex marriage?