Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Barbara Bush Favors Marriage Equality

That would be Barbara Bush, the daughter of George W. Bush, not the wife of George H.W. Bush. This Ms. Bush is not the former First Lady. But still, it’s a step away from her father, who supported the idea of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Ms. Bush, 29, has taped a video calling on New York to legalize gay marriage. A bill to do that was defeated in the state in 2009. She describes the issue as a matter of conscience and equality.

“I am Barbara Bush, and I am a New Yorker for marriage equality,” she says in the brief message, sponsored by an advocacy group. “New York is about fairness and equality. And everyone should have the right to marry the person that they love.”

The video ends with Ms. Bush, who lives in Manhattan, imploring the state’s residents to “join us.”

Ms. Bush is the latest child of a prominent Republican leader to embrace same-sex marriage, long considered anathema to the conservative movement. Gay rights advocates have been quick to seize on the generational split as evidence that the acceptance of same-sex marriage is blind to party affiliation and family values.

She joins Meghan McCain, daughter of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), and Mary Cheney, the daughter of the former vice president, who is a lesbian and is credited with getting her father to be supportive of marriage equality.

Sure, there’s an element of irony that the children of prominent conservatives (and to some degree, their wives as well) would be supportive of same-sex marriage. It’s a generational thing in part, but it also has to do with the fact that Ms. Bush, like others who come from conservative families but don’t rely on toeing a particular party line for their livelihood or public reputation, understand that who you love and who you choose to share your life with are not things to be measured by political standards.

It’s actually a sign of good parenting that these people can show that they have reached a level of maturity and responsibility for the rights and happiness of others without regard as to how well it will poll for the next election. Now that’s a real family value.