Tags: bush | states | decide | gay | marriage
Image: Jeb Bush: States Should Decide Gay Marriage

Jeb Bush: States Should Decide Gay Marriage

Monday, 25 Mar 2013 06:59 PM

By Todd Beamon and John Bachman

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The day before the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on the constitutionality of gay marriage, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush tells Newsmax TV in an exclusive interview that the issue should be decided by the states.

“I would prefer it to be a state-by-state issue,” Bush tells Newsmax. “That’s how we have dealt with a lot of issues in the United States.

“Our federal system is a spectacular way to deal with changing mores — and states can take advantage of opportunities much better than federal government,” Bush says. “This could be a place where the states play a role, as is the case right now.”

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Because Republicans are splitting on the issue, Bush says the focus right now “ought to be on the things that unite us — and there’s a growing divergence of opinion on gay marriage.

“To have an era of conservative governance, which should be the objective — not winning political points, debating points — it ought to be: Can we win the presidency? Can we win Congress? Can we win the state capitals in a way that allows us to implement conservative principles in a way that improves the chances for people to be successful?”

The Supreme Court will hear arguments on Tuesday and Wednesday on the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which excludes gay couples from federal benefits.

Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy is considered by legal experts to be the swing vote among the nine justices on the divided court — and the lesbian cousin of Chief Justice John Roberts will be in the courtroom on Tuesday to hear arguments.

The issue is now splintering the Republican Party with the reversal of Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who announced earlier this month that he now supported gay marriage because one of his sons is homosexual, and with the declaration of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee to Newsmax last week that Republicans might lose the vote from evangelical Christians if they strayed from their opposition to gay marriage.

But House Speaker John Boehner recently reaffirmed his opposition to same-sex marriage. “I believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman,” the fellow Ohioan told ABC’s “This Week” earlier this month.

“I know for a fact that as it relates to gay marriage and other social issues there is growing divergence of opinion on this,” Bush tells Newsmax. “When we talk about it, we ought to talk about it with a different tone — and we ought to talk about it recognizing that there is more than one point of view, and we should talk about it in a way that is not judgmental.

“If we can get to that point where people who have diverging points of view and express them in a civil way, the conservative coalition can stay intact.”

Bush sees the same approach to addressing issues related to gun control.

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New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said over the weekend that he was spending $12 million on a campaign to urge U.S. senators to support legislation that would expand background checks for gun purchases — an effort that Wayne LaPierre, chief executive officer of the National Rifle Association, said would fail to persuade the public to support further gun restrictions.

“The effort ought to be to find consensus, that there should be rewards politically for a consensus-oriented approach that solves problems,” Bush tells Newsmax. “On the other hand, passing legislation that doesn’t solve the problem isn’t going to solve any problems, either.

“I’d be wary of simple solutions to complex problems,” Bush cautions. “This is a complicated issue.”

Reflecting on three recent mass shootings across the nation — in Newtown, Conn., Aurora, Colo., and at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg — Bush asks: “How can it be that people cannot access mental-health services, or does the right to privacy need to be adjusted? What about [health-privacy] laws and other things to make sure that there’s some intervention prior to these tragedies taking place?

“If there are massive loopholes in the laws on background checks, those should be looked at. We’re moving towards this more consensus-oriented approach, where people are allowed to try to find common ground and find solutions.

“I don’t know if we’re going to find one on the gun-control issue in Washington,” Bush says. “My guess is it’s probably not going to happen, but I admire the fact that there are people on both sides who are actually engaged in this in a different kind of way than we’ve seen in the last five years in Washington.”

Turning his attention to the new Pope, Bush expressed much admiration for Francis’ humility and spirituality.

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“It was a really spectacular choice at this point in time in the history of the church. I converted to Catholicism because the church has been consistent in its embrace of absolute truth — and there hasn’t been a wandering away from that for thousands of years,” Bush tells Newsmax. “It’s something quite remarkable in the world that we live in to have an institution be so faithful to its values.

“This pope, his own modesty and the humility of his life, will be an inspiration for millions of people that the church needs,” Bush adds. “There needs to be a rebirth, if you will, and it was an inspired choice.


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