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Former president George H.W. Bush serves as official witness at gay wedding

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

KENNEBUNK, Maine — Former President George H.W. Bush was an official witness at the same-sex wedding of two longtime friends, his spokesman said Wednesday.

Bush and his wife, Barbara Bush, attended the ceremony joining Bonnie Clement and Helen Thorgalsen as private citizens and friends on Saturday, spokesman Jim McGrath said.

Helen Thorgalsen, via Facebook

Helen Thorgalsen, via Facebook

Thorgalsen posted a photo on her Facebook page showing Bush signing the marriage license as a witness. She captioned the photo: “Getting our marriage license witnessed!”

In the photo, Bush is seated in a wheelchair, a stack of papers on his lap and his left hand poised with a pen. One bright red sock and one bright blue one peek out below the cuffs of his blue slacks.

The 41st president has deep ties to the area and owns a compound in Kennebunkport, a small coastal town. Thorgalsen and Clement own a general store in neighboring Kennebunk. They were honeymooning overseas and didn’t immediately respond to an em ail seeking comment Wednesday.

Same-sex marriage became legal in Maine in December.

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.

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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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111 more reader comments:

  1. Proud to have met this man, a great guy.

    Posted on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 11:15pm
  2. Wow! That is really cool.

    Posted on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 11:24pm
  3. I don’t think he knows where he is, let alone what he’s doing Anymore! LoL =P

    Posted on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 11:27pm
  4. Is Bush trying to pretend he and his family aren’t a bunch of bigoted scumbags now? Because they still are.

    Posted on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 11:27pm
  5. ...or, you know, they've realized that other people who have different orientations are people too?

    Replied on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 12:30am
  6. or it's just his son that's like that.

    Replied on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 12:31am
  7. exactly

    Replied on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 1:36am
  8. whoa Cameron so strong a voice! how do you know he hasn't come around?

    Replied on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 1:36am
  9. maybe you get humble when ur wicked old?

    Replied on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 3:31am
  10. Share this to end LGBT discrimination, within our courts. Due to biases that have surfaced within the nez perce county court room The ALLY ROBLEDO trial was postponed, until thursday Oct. 17th recommended By the plaintiffs prosecutor which has an attempt to block, LGBT support in the courtroom. Please share this post to support Ally Robledo, and the LGBT community as she faces biases in rural Idaho.

    Replied on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 5:22am
  11. Hrm... Same thing could be said about the Obama's too... a $100 million vacation while blacks like him (Because yanno, Obama is only black and all per the Democrats) can't even feed their children without begging the federal system to support them with food stamps and other hard-working American's tax money? Right...

    Replied on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 11:59am
  12. If we don't let people change, they won't.

    Replied on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 12:35pm
  13. It's never too late to learn how to love.

    Replied on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 1:33pm
  14. I believe it's important to recognize the positives of the old man. Former President Bush (G.H.W.) most definitely did things far differently than his son(s). He does not touch the scope of despicability that his off-spring do. And remember, Laura Bush is a kick-ass woman herself. I'm pretty darn left, and I can see the beauty in the family. It's important to do so. They are human afterall.

    Replied on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 2:21pm
  15. @ Suzanne Renee, "[blacks] can't even feed their children without begging the federal system to support them with food stamps and other hard-working American's tax money?" Really? Speaking of bigotry. "Blacks" are not a single group but many individuals. Not trying to be political, just thinking bigotry and racism have no place in our modern culture.

    Replied on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 3:21pm
  16. Whether he is or not, at least this is a step in the right direction.

    Replied on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 7:19pm
  17. Because if you look at his record as VP under Reagan, and at his tenure as President, you'll see that a bigot like him couldn't change even if he wanted to (which I'm sure he doesn't). No person can have a hatred that deep and then just change their mind.

    Replied on Friday, September 27, 2013 at 4:43pm
  18. :D

    Posted on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 11:28pm
  19. I’m glad he’s come-around. And yes, he’s still quite alert and aware of where he is and what he’s doing. That only leaves one more Bush on the wrong side of marriage equality history. I don’t hold out much hope for W. He still won’t admit to invading the wrong country.

    Posted on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 11:31pm
  20. Don't expect Obama to own up to Bengazi either...

    Replied on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 11:59am
  21. Oh because they're so similar. A fumbling response to a foreign embassy attack is totally the moral equivalent of an eight-year, illegal, immoral war waged against a country that hadn't attacked us. Idiot.

    Replied on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 12:41pm
  22. A lot come around when the end gets near.

    Replied on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 2:48pm
  23. well, isn’t that nice about time someone is standing for us

    Posted on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 11:33pm
  24. Interesting

    Posted on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 11:37pm
  25. Does he think he is just signing an autograph?

    Posted on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 11:38pm
  26. hypocrite

    Posted on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 11:42pm
  27. Too little, too late…

    Posted on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 11:47pm
  28. Better late than never.

    Posted on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 11:50pm
  29. I do believe in evolution, I do, I do I do. Now if more of his followers can just do the same. Evolve ya’ll, It doesn’t hurt.

    Posted on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 11:53pm
  30. I am proud as an American to see this!

    Posted on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 11:53pm
  31. now relate this back to your insidious GOP party

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 12:03am
  32. is this just an opportunity to protect his LEGACY…

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 12:05am
  33. Being close to death can change a man in many ways. See Thomas Paine.

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 12:06am
  34. A’bout darn time!

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 12:09am
  35. He wears one red and one blue sock. Just wondering…

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 12:10am
  36. Nobody will ever respect us or want to support us if nobody is willing to forgive, we should always welcome people who are finally seeing the light. And no it should not be left up to the states, rights should not be voted on.

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 12:19am
  37. as I agree with you on that forgiving those who did wrong makes a person stronger however I never heard him give a speech apologizing, he spent his life being hateful you don't just wake up one morning and say "hey I think I was wrong I should go to a wedding and prove im not a bigot anymore" so I believe this is for show unless by some miracle he did change

    Replied on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 4:14am
  38. AHHHHHHHH STFUUUUU !!!! I’M HAPPY !!!

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 12:19am
  39. Wow

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 12:20am
  40. Senility must be setting in.

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 12:30am
  41. Holy shit!!!

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 12:31am
  42. Actions speak louder than words. He spoke loudly.

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 12:33am
  43. Politics aren’t always personal. He it’s just a witness, not an activist for the LGBT movement. And some gays couldn’t care less about gay political issues and don’t want to be around those in the community. Plus, he isn’t President anymore.

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 12:44am
  44. Was he intoxicated?

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 12:48am
  45. He was always way cooler than W.

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 12:56am
  46. he most def was...

    Replied on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 9:03pm
  47. Well, if that doesn’t beat all!

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 12:56am
  48. Finally the old fart’s got something right!

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 12:58am
  49. Hmm. Well then.

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 1:07am
  50. Not going to lie, I’m surprised.

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 1:13am
  51. That must curl the butt holes of all those homophobic republicans out there.

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 1:15am
  52. Bravo MR PRESIDENT

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 1:34am
  53. Does he know what’s going on?

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 1:38am
  54. Awesome!

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 1:41am
  55. See there’s good n almost everyone?

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 1:46am
  56. Liberty. Love. This is how we go forward. What a great example.

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 1:57am
  57. Not gonna lie, I’m a little shocked

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 2:12am
  58. Quite the change..politicians are chameleons…activism has brought much needed change…thank you all !

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 2:41am
  59. Thank You!

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 2:42am
  60. Really! Now I’ve seen EVERYTHING!!!!

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 2:46am
  61. Hes a DICK HEAD and ALWAYS HAS BEEN AND SO IS HIS ENTIRE FAMILY….MAY THEY ROT IN HELL…

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 2:57am
  62. I never would have voted for him but wow great for him

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 3:02am
  63. everyone should be given the right and the chance to change their mind.

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 3:05am
  64. what a fucking digrace

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 3:15am
  65. At least its a gesture! That’s more than anyone can say about most Republicans and other hate based groups such as fundamental so called Christians.

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 3:15am
  66. PEOPLE CHANGE! BRAVO MR. PRESIDENT!

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 3:17am
  67. Wow, surprised

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 3:31am
  68. Thank you Sir ( :

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 3:41am
  69. PROGRESS?

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 3:41am
  70. Haha. Didn’t see that coming. But that’s pretty cool

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 3:48am
  71. ….still don’t believe this…publicity yah know…

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 3:56am
  72. Maybe he thought he was signing to have the wedding null and voided -lol

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 4:16am
  73. idiots

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 4:17am
  74. WOW He must have finally taken a walk with PINK!! http://youtu.be/9eDJ3cuXKV4

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 4:17am
  75. Bush is still awful.

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 4:27am
  76. his son was hilarious. and clinton was the best comedian we've ever had. "i did not have sexual relations with that woman.....I wanted too......."

    Replied on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 4:53am
  77. Now if he would speak up and tell the idiots in the Republican party that the hate must stop.

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 4:30am
  78. Fuck him

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 4:53am
  79. Did anybody else catch this “Gorge H.W. Bush was an official witness at the same-sex wedding of two longtime friends”? Sounds to me like he has been open minded about it for a long time. It isn’t like he just came around and decided to go make friends with a lesbian couple. Just saying…

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 5:21am
  80. I know some people who use the defense "but my friend is ___" and they still exhibit prejudice toward that group. A former classmate of mine told me that despite his best friend being an undocumented immigrant, he would still like to see them all deported. X(

    Replied on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 1:50pm
  81. Share this to end LGBT discrimination, within our courts. Due to biases that have surfaced within the nez perce county court room The ALLY ROBLEDO trial was postponed, until thursday Oct. 17th recommended By the plaintiffs prosecutor which has an attempt to block, LGBT support in the courtroom. Please share this post to support Ally Robledo, and the LGBT community as she faces biases in rural Idaho.

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 5:22am
  82. well HOT DAMN?!

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 5:45am
  83. Whaaaaa… WTF? Are the Bush pretending to be socially appropriate?

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 6:36am
  84. Check out his socks,,,he’s so cool. The socks don’t match, but they are still a pair! So cool!

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 7:32am
  85. I have to say, some may be surprised by this, but they should not. The Bush’s have always supported gay rights, if anything, a little too quietly.Jen in particular.

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 7:34am
  86. This is truly grotesque; his administration cut funding for HIV-AIDS research… he kept in place the homophobic policies of the Reagan administration…

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 9:41am
  87. I guess Hells does thaw out. Miracles do happen…..

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 9:58am
  88. Still hate him jxt cuz he does this one thing doesn’t mean it makes up for all the wrongs he’s done..

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 10:21am
  89. good for him

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 10:36am
  90. hmmm more of a publicity stunt I guess – but I guess it’s ok

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 10:41am
  91. Really?

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 10:42am
  92. Glad to see personal approval!

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 12:17pm
  93. Some Republicans are becoming likable and sweet! (?)

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 12:24pm
  94. Very interesting. Luv those socks. ;)

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 12:53pm
  95. His son is a different story.

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 1:26pm
  96. Stop the hate!

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 1:27pm
  97. Yeah for him, at least one semi-cool republican.

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 1:41pm
  98. Well at least SOME teabaglicans are willing to ignore the hate spewed by their party!

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 2:10pm
  99. Nice!!!

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 2:47pm
  100. Hey! The full photo shows his socks!

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 2:47pm
  101. senility often brings moments of temporary personality change…

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 3:00pm
  102. I don’t buy it.

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 3:17pm
  103. that’s one of the coolest things he’s ever done!!

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 6:32pm
  104. good for him!

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 6:51pm
  105. oh my! get the man a goddamn medal.

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 7:20pm
  106. Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 8:35pm
  107. probably too senile to know

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 8:43pm
  108. Good for him.

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 10:02pm
  109. During his presidency Mr. Bush Sr. used to be very anti-gay.

    Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 10:34pm
  110. Why is it a surprise when a Republican acts human? A true conservative believes in the rights and responsibilities of the individual. Gay marriage is clearly that. By the way: he was a combat pilot in WWII, congressman, Skull and Bones at Yale, head of the CIA, VP, Pres

    Posted on Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 9:31pm
  111. By the Way: You did not hear a discussion of repeal of Roe v Wade under either Bush. With Clinton Don’t ask don’t tell was gutted to result in military prosecutions.

    Posted on Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 9:37pm