They call themselves "gay bears," look like burly, bearded members of the "Duck Dynasty" clan, and are the proud owners of a website
that just can't be making assumed 2016 Republican presidential contender and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush very happy.
Portland, Oregon, couple C.J. Phillips and Charlie Rainwater don't really support Bush. In fact, they plan to use the site, which they've owned since 2008, to educate people on LGBT issues, the two gay "techies" say, after they heard some of Bush's "harsh comments" on people who share their lifestyle, they told Politico.
"We don’t want this to be a bash Jeb Bush site. If you want to bash Bush go to JebBushforPresident.net. They bash him hard. They do it plenty. We don’t need to chime in. We have honestly always wanted this to be an opportunity for people to learn about things we’re facing," Phillips told Politico.
The pair appeared on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show" and told her, "It’s an opportunity to educate people what the realities are," Phillips said. "Our real goal is to give people an opportunity to actually come through the Internet and meet real life gay people and learn how things are affecting us. That’s how we want to carry on."
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As to where the "bears" tag comes from, C.J. and Charlie explain on their website, "Many years ago, there was a movement born from a simple desire to be part of a community. Many gay men felt that they didn't fit in with the stereotypes of that time because they weren't the pretty gym bodies with Farrah Fawcett hair and smooth faces. Hence the birth of the bear movement.
"Everyone was welcome! Big guys, little guys, hairy guys, smooth guys, buff dudes, chubby dudes, young men, old men, and those that admired them."
"We used to joke that the reason the Internet took off is because bears in the programming world wanted to swap photos," they told the Huffington Post.
Bush, who has opposed same-sex marriage, said in a statement, "We live in a democracy, and regardless of our disagreements, we have to respect the rule of law. I hope that we can also show respect for the good people on all sides of the gay and lesbian marriage issue, including couples making lifetime commitments to each other who are seeking greater legal protections and those of us who believe marriage is a sacrament and want to safeguard religious liberty," On Politics reported.
Phillips and Rainwater, a couple since 1996, told the Huffington Post, "Whether we take a political stand or a social justice path, we hope to educate. We want to facilitate positive discussions. Neither one of us is a fan of just bashing on other groups, so we hope we can engender some understanding from a diversity point of view."
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