Former President Celebrates Friends' Marriage
George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara were among the guests last weekend at the marriage of two female friends in Maine. Bush, the nation's 41st president, was an official witness as well — he signed the couple's marriage license.
Former President George H.W. Bush prepares to sign the marriage license of friends Helen Thorgalsen, right, and Bonnie Clement, left, in Kennebunkport, Maine, as officiant Nancy Sosa, third right, and Helen's daughter Lindsey look on. Bush was an official witness at the Sept. 21, 2013, wedding.
Former President George H.W. Bush, former first lady Barbara Bush, right, and their newly wedded friends Helen Thorgalsen, center, and Bonnie Clement.
Former President George H.W. Bush's presence as a witness and guest at the marriage of two women in Maine last weekend is being treated by some as his quiet endorsement of same-sex marriage.
For the record, The Associated Press writes, Bush spokesman Jim McGrath says only that the former president and his wife, Barbara Bush, attended the marriage of friends Bonnie Clement and Helen Thorgalsen as private citizens.
On her Facebook page, Thorgalsen posted a photo of the 89-year-old Bush signing the marriage license. "Getting our marriage license witnessed!" she wrote.
In an email to The Washington Post, Clement says the couple has known the Bushes for many years. The Post writes that:
" 'This is such a wonderful time for change in our legal system,' she added. 'Who would be best to help us acknowledge the importance of our wedding as our friends and as the former leader of the free world. When they agreed to do so we just felt that it was the next acknowledgment of being real and normal.' Clement, 60, said she and Thorgalsen, 55, have been together for 12 years, during which she helped raise her new wife's now-adult daughters."
The AP reminds us that:
"Bush was in the White House when gay marriage wasn't as big a political issue as it is today. One of his sons, former President George W. Bush, opposed same-sex marriage and in 2004 announced his support for a proposed constitutional amendment to outlaw it. But [George W. Bush's] wife, Laura Bush, and their daughter Barbara Bush support gay marriage, as does [George W.Bush's] former vice president, Dick Cheney, whose daughter Mary Cheney is openly gay.
"A spokesman for George W. Bush on Wednesday declined to comment on his current feelings about same-sex marriage or his thoughts about his father's role in a same-sex wedding."
Same-sex marriages became legal in Maine, where the Bushes have a summer home, last December.