Jeb Bush's moderation of his views on gay marriage could offer a road map for other Republicans as they seek not to alienate party conservatives but to broaden their tent to a wider and more socially liberal group of voters, The Washington Post reported.
Bush, a decade ago, was forceful in his argument that homosexuals did not deserve any sort of special protection under the law. Bush also noted, according to the Post, "that sodomy should not be elevated to the same constitutional status as race and religion."
Two decades later, however, Bush is older and as views have shifted, he, too, seems to have softened his position, urging acceptance of court decisions upholding the right to same-sex marriage and calling on people to offer those gays who seek committed relationships more "respect," the Post said.
Bush, a Catholic, continues, however, to believe that marriage remains a sacrament, which should satisfy religious faithful within his party as he continues preparations to what many believe is an inevitable White House run in 2016.
Bush issued a statement this week after a circuit judge lifted her stay after a previous ruling in July that the state's ban in Florida violated the Constitution's Equal Protection clause, the Huffington Post noted
as it questioned the former Sunshine State governor's new posture on gay rights.
"We live in a democracy and regardless of our disagreements, we have to respect the rule of law," Bush said in his statement as the Miami-Dade County area, where he lives in Coral Gables, opened its doors for gay weddings. "I hope that we can 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."
Some political observers argue that it is not an issue that Bush wants to tangle with if he does seek the presidency, MSNBC noted.
He must walk a fine line in staying true to his beliefs and not allowing the issue to be divisive or outpace broader issues that will likely define the campaign.
"Here is a fascinating nuance," said John J. Pitney Jr., a Claremont McKenna College professor of government, told MSNBC via email. "Jeb is a Catholic convert. All Christian churches have marriage rituals, but only Catholics, some Anglicans, and some Orthodox call it a sacrament. He wants to avoid endorsing same-sex marriage, and avoid giving offense to anyone. Most of all, he wants to avoid the issue entirely."
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