September 26, 2013

George H.W. Bush is witness at Maine same-sex wedding

Wire and staff reports

KENNEBUNK — A spokesman says former President George H.W. Bush was an official witness at the same-sex wedding of two longtime friends in Maine.

click image to enlarge

Former President George H.W. Bush prepares to sign the marriage license of longtime friends Helen Thorgalsen, right, and Bonnie Clement, left, in Kennebunkport, as officiant Nancy Sosa, third right, and Helen's daughter Lindsey, rear, look on Saturday. Bush was an official witness at the same-sex wedding, his spokesman said Wednesday.

The Associated Press

click image to enlarge

Former President George H.W. Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush, right, pose for photos after the wedding of longtime friends Helen Thorgalsen, center, and Bonnie Clement, in Kennebunkport on Saturday.

The Associated Press

Jim McGrath says Bush and his wife, Barbara, attended the ceremony Saturday where Bonnie Clement and Helen Thorgalsen were married. He says they were there as private citizens and friends.

A photo posted Sunday on Thorgalsen's Facebook page shows Bush signing the marriage license as a witness. She captioned the photo: "Getting our marriage license witnessed!"

The 41st president has deep ties to the area and owns a compound in Kennebunkport.

Thorgalsen and Clement own a general store in neighboring Kennebunk. McGrath said the Bushes became friends with both women. The newly-wed couple was honeymooning overseas and did not immediately respond to emails.

“Helen and Bonnie have operated a well-known store for a number of years. It’s a small town and you get to know people,” McGrath said.

Maine legalized same sex marriage in 2012.

One of Bush's 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 his wife, Laura Bush, and their daughter Barbara Bush support gay marriage, as does his 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.

In July, George W. Bush made headlines when he said he wouldn't comment on the issue, saying he "shouldn't be taking a speck out of someone else's eye when I have a log in my own." He later explained that he just wasn't going to answer the question because he was out of politics.

His brother Jeb Bush, a former governor of Florida and a potential presidential candidate, has said same-sex marriage is an issue best left to the states to decide. In a speech in June, he told the Faith & Freedom Coalition the nation needs to be supportive of non-traditional families.

 

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