Laura Bush urged president to sidestep gay marriage

Wed. April 28, 2010 12:00 AM by

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.

Article provided in partnership with On Top Magazine