While Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush told a gay constituent outright that his relationship didn’t deserve legal recognition… while consistently misspelling the word ‘marriage’.
The Republican politician – the brother of former President George W Bush and son of former President George H W Bush – is currently in contention for the party’s nomination to run for President.
In a collection of emails Mr Bush released today, it was revealed that when a gay constituent pleaded with him over LGBT rights, he replied that they “shouldn’t be afforded” the protections of marriage – and suggested they just draw up a contract instead of seeking legal recognition.
Xavier Cortada emailed the Governor to plead with him to allow recognition of his eight-year relationship with partner Juan Carlos.
E-mailing Governor Bush, whose brother was enacting anti-gay laws at the time, he wrote: “I am feeling particularly denied and particularly unequal.
“My life partner, Juan Carlos, and I have been together for eight years and are being denied rights afforded to others who can legally marry.
He added: “The problem is not just the homophobia and violence (remember Matthew Shepard?) that this marginalisation generates, but also the image that is generated in society at large: Gays and lesbians as second class citizens.”
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Personally replying, then-Governor Bush told him: “I am sensitive to your point of view but respectfully disagree.
“Your relationship with Juan Carlos can be made more permanent through contractual obligations that set forth asset disposition and other issues.
“However, I don’t believe that your relationship should be afforded the same status in the law as a man and a woman agreeing to marraige [sic].
“The institution of marraige [sic] is under attack in our society and it needs to be strengthened.
“This does not have to be at the expense of other kinds of relationships but in support of the most important institution in our society.”
In true Bush style, he consistently misspelled the word “marriage” as “marraige” in the email.
TJ Helmstetter, director of LGBT media for the DNC, joked: “Thanks Jeb! When I was a little boy, I always dreamed of growing up, finding that special someone, and making my relationship permanent through contractual obligations that set forth asset disposition.”
In a follow-up to the email written in 2015, Bush added: “Because of my Catholic faith, I believe marriage is a sacrament best reserved for a man and woman.
“While I disagree with the decision made by the US Supreme Court, we now need to strike a balance between respecting the religious freedom of the American people and ensuring gay and lesbian families are not discriminated against in our society.”