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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 26, 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 52
Jeb Bush doesn't hate you, but he doesn't like you very much either
Section One
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Jeb Bush doesn't hate you, but he doesn't like you very much either

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush said on December 16 that he will now 'actively explore the possibility of running for President.'

Bush made the announcement of his intention to follow in the footsteps of his big brother George W., and his father George H.W., via a post on his Facebook page.

He will also create a PAC, or political action committee, to 'facilitate conversations with citizens across America,' he said.

Unlike other potential Republican presidential nominees - Rick Santorum leaps to mind - Bush has resisted the temptation to demonize the LGBT community in order to score cheap points with his party's conservative base. That doesn't mean he supports LGBT rights, however.

In fact, Bush's record on LGBT rights seems mixed, at best. When he first ran for governor of Florida in 1993-1994, he openly sneered at demands for laws protecting sexual orientation and gender identity.

'I don't believe we need to create another category of victims,' he told a Lesbian couple who heckled him at a 1993 campaign event.

Also in that campaign, his staff asked that caterers at a fund-raiser held at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center remove the red ribbons that they regularly wore in remembrance of AIDS victims. Those ribbons were a political statement, Bush staffers explained, and sent the wrong message for Bush's campaign event.

Bush lost that run, but continued to campaign, building up to a successful election in 1998. As part of that effort, he wrote a book, Profiles in Character, in 1995.

'Since the 1960s, the politics of victimization has steadily intensified,' Bush wrote.

'Being a victim gives rise to certain entitlements, benefits, and preferences in society. The surest way to get something in today's society is to elevate one's status to that of the oppressed. Many of the modern victim movements - the gay rights movement, the feminist movement, the black empowerment movement - have attempted to get people to view themselves as part of a smaller group deserving of something from society.'

In a 1998 election campaign questionnaire, Bush said he opposed protecting sexual orientation in Florida's anti-discrimination laws, and also opposed marriage equality.

As governor, Bush dismantled Florida's affirmative action laws, substituting his so-called 'One Florida' initiative - designed to eliminate categories like race and gender from consideration in public policy decisions. Sexual orientation and gender identity were never protected categories under Florida law.

In 2006, well into his second term as governor, Bush said he was leaning towards a state constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage. The measure eventually passed at the ballot box in 2008, as Bush was leaving office.

More recently, Bush has expressed some support for LGBT families, while still opposing same-sex marriage rights.

'I don't think people need to be discriminated against because they don't share my belief on this, and if [Gay] people love their children with all their heart and soul, that should be held up as examples for others to follow because we need it,' he told Charlie Rose in June 2012.

In 2013 he told the conservative CPAC conference that 'way too many people believe Republicans are anti-everything,' including 'anti-gay.' In a Quinnipiac poll published earlier this month, Bush ran second to Mitt Romney among Republican presidential hopefuls, with 11% to Romney's 19%. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie tied TV and radio pundit Ben Carson for third, with 8% apiece.

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