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article imageLaura Bush: I was secretly in favour of abortion and gay rights

By Andrew John     May 14, 2010 in World
The former American First Lady Laura Bush has told a TV audience that, during her husband’s eight years in office, she was secretly in favour of abortion and gay rights.
Although she and George W. Bush disagreed in private, they were not “argumentative” about it, she says.
She told CNN: “I understand his viewpoint and he understands mine.
“I think we ought to look at gay marriage and debate it. A lot of people have trouble coming to terms with it, because they see marriage traditionally as [between] a man and a woman.
“But I also know that, when couples are committed to each other and love each other, they ought to have the same sort of rights that everyone has.”
The interviewer asked Bush what she thought of the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, and her husband’s view that it should be overturned.
“I think it’s important that it remains legal because I think it’s important for people, for medical reasons and other reasons,” she said.
Bush is on a tour to promote her book Spoken from the Heart, in which she says she asked her husband to refrain from making gay marriage a key issue in the 2004 election.
Evangelical voters
She writes: “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.”
But it was largely through the support of evangelical voters that George Bush won his second presidency, and he went on to make a speech calling for an amendment to the Constitution to make marriage strictly a man–woman affair.
Michael Cole, a leading US gay-rights campaigner and spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, said Laura Bush’s support would have been welcomed “when the right-wing was using same-sex couples as election year pawns”.
But he added: “Her speaking out now for marriage equality shows that more and more Americans realize all families need the same rights and protections.”
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