Behind Every Successful Anti-Gay Republican Man, There’s a Pro-Gay Marriage Woman?

Barbara Bush, one of George W. Bush’s twin daughters, has released a short video supporting same-sex marriage in New York as part of a campaign sponsored by the HRC.

She says this:

“I’m Barbara Bush, and I’m a New Yorker for marriage equality. New York is about fairness and equality, and everyone should have the right to marry the person that they love. Join us.”

Gay marriage is not currently legal in New York, and the New York Senate rejected same-sex marriage legislation in late 2009. However, New York is one of the states expected to consider legalizing it in 2011 (Maryland and Rhode Island are the others).

According to the New York Times, the video confirms a position that Bush has had for a while:

“For years, those close to her say, she has surrounded herself with gay friends — at Yale, where she was an undergraduate, and in New York City, where she worked in the design world.

C. Brian Smith, a friend from college who is gay, recalled that the Yale Ms. Bush inhabited was filled with openly gay students and unbothered by questions about sexuality. ‘She had that mind-set,’ he said. ‘She was loved by the gay community at Yale.'”

While no family members have commented on the video, last spring Laura Bush, on Larry King to promote her memoir Spoken from the Heart, said, “When couples are committed to each other, and love each other, they ought to have, I think, the same sort of rights that everyone else has.” Later in the same interview she said that legal abortions are important.

In the memoir itself, she wrote that for the 2004 election, she asked G.W. to not make gay marriage a significant issue which he could not POSSIBLY have ignored less — he opposed gay marriage and even endorsed a constitutional amendment to ban it.

Bush joins Meghan McCain and Cindy McCain in the “we are way smarter than our Republican family members” camp. The GAY REPUBLICAN “EPIDEMIC” marches boldly on, led, obviously, by ladies! Democrats can feel free to catch up any time.

Vanity Fair says Bush is stealing Meghan McCain’s thunder by releasing this video:

As The New York Times’s Michael Barbaro notes, Bush “rarely speaks out on American political issues, making her foray into the same-sex marriage debate so striking.” McCain, who frequently speaks out on all American political issues, does not appear to have responded on Twitter or the Daily Beast to Bush’s column. Her only tweet since the story broke has been off-topic: “It’s really been quite the few days – I DID NOT pose for Maxim magazine, people doctoring my head on a body doesn’t make it real.”

McCain’s silence on Bush’s declaration is not at all surprising given the frostiness the McCain-Bush relationship… McCain [has] expressed dissatisfaction about a 2008 visit to the White House, where she had met with Jenna and Laura Bush. “It seemed like a place of almost cultish exclusivity. I was excited to be there, but they weren’t excited to have me.” She added, “I hope Laura and Jenna Bush won’t be angry for me for dishing like this. But I use Taylor Swift as a model: if you don’t want her to write a song about you, don’t give her a reason.”

Is it remotely meaningful that Republican women are more likely to be pro-gay than their male relatives, or is it just easier to hold an unpopular position when you’re not the one in office? Certainly having a gay relative does not a pro-gay politician make, or is it a woman thing?

In 2000, when Vermont voted on Civil Unions, men in the legislature voted against the idea by a margin of 60-41. Women favored it by a four-to-one margin, 35-9. A recent poll in Michigan found men opposing gay marriage (57 to 33 percent), and women supporting allowing it (44 percent to 43 percent). In New York, men back gay marriage by 54 to 40 percent and women support it by 58 to 34 percent.

Carolyn Yates was formerly the NSFW Editor (2013–2018) and Literary Editor for Autostraddle.com. Her writing has appeared in Nylon, Refinery29, The Toast, Bitch, Xtra!, Jezebel, and elsewhere. She lives in Los Angeles by way of Montreal and Toronto. Find her on twitter or instagram.

Carolyn has written 946 articles for us.

32 Comments

  1. Honestly, I know I should be happy about the wave of wives and daughters of conservative politicians declaring their support for gay rights, but won’t really respect them until they flat-out say, “What my dad/husband did was wrong.”

    People like Meghan McCain seems intent on pretending that the Republican party’s homophobia has been rude and unpleasant, rather than dangerous and prejudiced. There’s an element of erasure there that makes me uncomfortable.

    So good for them for not being total assholes, but I’m not going throw them a party just yet.

    • These women also don’t seem to have a problem benefiting financially from a lot of the sketchier elements of their political party (subjugating people overseas and making money off their resources, etc).

      How much was Barbara paid to do this?

      Perhaps she just feels this way personally, and wants to make a video expressing as much. If so, I don’t see a problem with it.

      Having said that. I’m not going to congratulate people for doing what common decency dictates they should be doing anyway. I’m not a fan of government-sponsored marriage in any form, but I’m not patting anyone on the back for doing what they are already supposed to be doing.

      I don’t know. You would basically have to talk to her personally to get any answers.

      In any event, thanks for this article. I didn’t know about this, in fact I never knew there was a mini-Barbara at all. 😀

  2. its probably due to the fact that women deal with enough societal bullshit already and can relate more to minorities/underappreciated people on an emotional level. i dont want to get too gender role-y but based on our current societal upbringing etc, women think more on an emotional “people” level, whereas men are just like “ew man sex/yall be sinnin”. BUT, they also say men think more analytically due to not being influenced by emotion…so who the fuck knows. also, thats why you get crazy sarah palin women who are emo-4-church, so basically you have to be a conservative woman who gets thrown into a liberal melee such as laura bush going to NYC.

    as for hatin’, im sure its due to money somewhere.

    • and just to back it up, i remember reading about a study where hardcore conservative offspring were sent to a liberal university (and the parents were whining how they would be corrupted), and the consevative offspring acutally came out of it being way more liberal than the average liberal… which is pretty neat.

      • That’s because the parents taught them religion, “conservatism,” and other mental widgets, not values. Since the kids have no values/internal moral compass, they just blow whichever way the wind blows, sometimes extremely so, because they have no inner ethical system that helps them stay the course or whatever. You could send them to a stuffed bunny factory, and they would be fanatical stuffed bunny workers.

          • yeah i think its very much based on a “sensitive period” where someone is going to be most open to the possibility of questioning things around them (which generally speaking would be in the mid teens to 20s). if someone is too young to really think abstractly, then they dont take it in, but if they are too old then they get defensive about perhaps not being right all along. obviously this isnt everyone, as 40 year olds can change too im sure.

          • “if they are too old then they get defensive about perhaps not being right all along”

            ^ cause of 70% of the bull in this world. not just from older people, but in general

      • That’s interesting. I have also heard the opposite– that embattled semi-conservative people in a sea of liberals harden their conservatism because it becomes an increasingly salient aspect of their identity. Do you remember what the article you read was called?

        Also, in general there is some documentation of social and residential segregation along ideological grounds. Though it is more prominent on the conservative side.

        Re: women being more inclusive — I just got out of a colloquium about how American’s define/conceive of families with Katie Bolzendahl one of the authors of “Counted Out: Same-sex Relations and Americans’ Definitions of Family” which just came out. She talks about how women in general compared to men have a much more inclusive definition of family. More generally women have been found to be more inclusive and accepting then men. I think you’re right to say women are socialized into these roles, but the sociologist in me wants to also point out that women are given the emotional space/freedom in society to express more inclusiveness unlike like men who may face more corrective harassment from their peers if they express these more inclusive sentiments. Plus they may worry about being “polluted” by association with being pro-gay, which is less of a worry for women. So I guess I’m trying to say there are several reasons why women (in general, not just conservative women) may be more vocal in their support.

        If anyone is interested here is a link to KB’s book:

        She is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. I wish I could put her on my dissertation committee, but our interests barely intersect.

        • yeah i really REALLY try to negate any causes of most things to be directly gender related, and in a utopian society where people were just “themselves” im pretty sure most of these effects of women do this or men do that better would disappear. i am thoroughly convinced. blanketing 50% of ANY population makes me cringe to the darkest depths of my soul.

          • For reals. There are only human traits that then get assigned/associated with a gender.

            You’re making my sociologist heart swell with pride.

  3. S0 many straight men are so damn scared of anything that makes them look effeminate (i.e. being penetrated, metaphorically or literally, supporting gay rights, showing genuine emotion etc.) that they rail against gay rights and gay causes because they are terrified of guilty-by-association. Women, on the other hand, contend with an entire human history of dealing with men’s shit and belittlement, so i think feel more akin to the oppressed, the outliers, and the discriminated.

  4. Maybe it’s easier for women to be pro gay marriage due to the really confusing societal attitude towards lesbian and queer women. In Australian society there is a lot of pressure for men to be really straight. I know more homophobic men than homophobic women. This pressure could account for men being unwilling to lose straight kudos points by declaring themselves for gay marriage. For women the image of lesbians and bisexuals fostered in the porn industry makes gay a little bit sexy, so there is less pressure not to be seen as gay (at least for femme presenting women).

    Another possible impact of differing homophobia could be that more straight women have gay friends.

  5. I was raised by the crazy conservatives. They were deeply suspicious of women, black people, and minorities of any kind in politics, perceiving them as more liberal. So, maybe it’s a woman thing?

    I don’t give even a small percentage of a shit what some horrible straight white guy’s daughter has to say about gay people. Get back to me when her father comes around.

  6. Thoughts I had during/after viewing this video.

    I like her eyes.
    She should start singing R&B songs.
    That was a short message.
    She should really start singing R&B songs.
    I would start singing R&B songs.
    I should sing R&B songs.

    This is when I start singing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”

Contribute to the conversation...

You must be logged in to post a comment.