Former President George W. Bush on Thursday said that he was not “weighing in” on the current debate over same sex marriage, even though he supported a constitutional ban on marriage equality and may have won a second term because anti-LGBT ballot measures brought evangelical conservatives out to vote in 2004.
During an interview to promote the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, CBS News host Charlie Rose asked the former president if he still favored a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage.
“Yeah, well, I’m not, I’m not weighing in on these issues, as you know, because I’ve made the decision to get off the stage,” Bush insisted. “And so I’m off the stage.”
But when it came to the question of immigration reform, the nation’s 43rd president was quick to say that it needed to happen.
“I hope it happens ’cause it’s the right thing to do,” he said.
According to The New York Times, ballot measures banning same sex marriage in states like Ohio brought more evangelicals out to the polls in 2004 and may have given Bush the edge he needed to win a second term over then-Sen. John Kerry (D-MA).
“In Ohio, for instance, political analysts credit the ballot measure with increasing turnout in Republican bastions in the south and west, while also pushing swing voters in the Appalachian region of the southeast toward Mr. Bush,” the Times noted in 2004. “The president’s extra-strong showing in those areas compensated for an extraordinarily large Democratic turnout in Cleveland and in Columbus, propelling him to a 136,000-vote victory.”
As president, Bush had also supported a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage.
In his fourth state of the union address, he lashed out at “activist judges” for “redefining marriage by court order, without regard for the will of the people and their elected representatives.”
“If judges insist on forcing their arbitrary will upon the people, the only alternative left to the people would be the constitutional process. Our nation must defend the sanctity of marriage.”
Watch this video from CBS News, broadcast April 25, 2013.
Watch this video from CBS News, recorded in 2004.