President Obama isn't the only politician whose views on same-sex marriage have evolved. On Monday, right before Florida stared issuing marriage certificates for same-sex couples, former governor and future presumptive GOP presidential frontrunner Jeb Bush significantly softened his tone on gay marriage. "We live in a democracy, and regardless of our disagreements, we have to respect the rule of law," Bush said in a statement. He continued:
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. [Bush, to The New York Times]
That may not sound very enthusiastic, but just a day earlier he had told The Miami Herald that states should be able to decide about gay marriage, as Florida had in a 2008 constitutional amendment banning same-sex nuptials. And 20 years ago, in a Miami Herald editorial from his first (unsuccessful) run for governor, Bush had asked: "Should sodomy be elevated to the same constitutional status as race and religion? My answer is No."
The tepid support was enough to earn Bush tepid praise from gay-rights group the Human Rights Campaign. While "most Republican politicians have been adamant in their opposition and provide no room for evolution," said spokesman Fred Sainz, Jeb Bush "at least is expressing his respect for those who support marriage equality.... That's a big change for Republicans."