In her new memoir, former first lady
Laura Bush says she urged her husband to sidestep the issue of gay
marriage in 2004.
Spoken From The Heart will hit
store shelves on May 4, but both POLITICO and the New York Times
have published revealing excerpts from the 456-page book.
The book's description says: “With
deft humor and a sharp eye, Laura Bush lifts the curtain on what
really happens inside the White House, from presidential finances to
the 175-year-old tradition of separate bedrooms for presidents and
their wives to the antics of some White House guests and even a few
members of Congress.”
In giving her view on what she calls
“the legacy of the 2004 campaign,” Bush says she urged the
president not to make gay marriage a significant issue.
“In 2004 the social question that
animated the campaign was gay marriage,” Bush writes. “Before
the election season had unfolded, I had talked to George about not
making gay marriage a significant issue. We have, I reminded him, a
number of close friends who are gay or whose children are gay. But
at that moment I could never have imagined what path this issue would
take and where it would lead.”
Citing historical reasons,
then-President George Bush endorsed a constitutional amendment that
would restrict marriage to a heterosexual union but leave open the
possibility that states could allow civil unions.
“Marriage cannot be severed from its
cultural, religious and natural roots without weakening the good
influence of society,” Bush said in 2004.
The year was pivotal for the gay
marriage movement. The president's endorsement came after
Massachusetts became the first state to legalize the institution and
San Francisco's Mayor Gavin Newsom decided to give marriage licenses
to gay and lesbian couples. Proposition 8 – California's gay
marriage ban approved by voters in 2008 – was the eventual fallout
of Newsom's decision.