President George H.W. Bush Attends Same-Sex Wedding as Official Witness

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Bonnie Clement, Helen Thorgalsen, Barbara Bush, and 41st President George H.W. Bush at the wedding ceremony.
Source: Roxanne Roberts and Amy Argetsinger, “George H.W. Bush Is Witness at Same-Sex Marriage in Maine,” washingtonpost.com, Sep. 25, 2013
41st US President George H.W. Bush served as an official witness at a same-sex wedding on Sep. 21. Bush and his wife Barbara attended the Kennebunk, Maine gay marriage of their longtime friends Bonnie Clement and Helen Thorgalsen as “private citizens and friends,” according to Bush’s official spokesman Jim McGrath.

According to newlywed Clement’s letter to the Washington Post, “This is such a wonderful time for change in our legal system.” She explained that the Bushes “would be best to help us acknowledge the importance of our wedding as our friends and as the former leader of the free world. When they agreed to do so we just felt that it was the next acknowledgment of being real and normal.” Clement, 60, said she and Thorgalsen, 55, have been a couple for 12 years and own a general store near the Bush family vacation home in Kennebunkport.

43rd President George W. Bush, his son, opposed same-sex marriage during his presidency and in 2004 supported a proposed constitutional amendment to outlaw the practice. Through a spokesman, he declined to comment on gay marriage or his father’s role as witness to the marriage ceremony.

George W. Bush’s wife Laura, however, and their daughter Barbara have expressed their support for gay marriage. Bush’s former vice president, Dick Cheney also came out in support of same-sex marriage after revelations that his daughter is gay. George H.W. Bush’s other son Jeb, a former governor of Florida, previously said same-sex marriage should be a state-by-state issue.

On Dec. 29, 2012, Maine became the eighth state to legalize gay marriage. Same-sex marriage is currently legal in 13 states and the District of Columbia. 35 states have gay marriage bans through either laws or constitutional amendments or both.

Sources:

Associated Press, “George H.W. Bush Witness at Same-Sex Wedding in Maine,” usatoday.com, Sep. 26, 2013

Cheryl K. Chumley, “George H.W. Bush Serves as Witness at Same-Sex Ceremony,” washingtontimes.com, Sep. 26, 2013

Paige Lavender, “George H.W. Bush Serves as Witness at Gay Wedding,” huffingtonpost.com, Sep. 25, 2013

Maureen McCarty, “George H.W. Bush Serves as Official Witness at Same-Sex Wedding,” hrc.org, Sep. 25, 2013

Mark Memmott, “George H.W. Bush Is Witness at Same-Sex Wedding of Friends,” npr.og, Sep. 26, 2013

Tony Merevick, “George H.W. Bush Was a Witness to a Maine Lesbian Couple’s Wedding,” buzzfeed.com, Sep. 25, 2013

Roxanne Roberts and Amy Argetsinger, “George H.W. Bush Is Witness at Same-Sex Marriage in Maine,” washingtonpost.com, Sep. 25, 2013