In an interview with David Brody on the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), presidential hopeful Jeb Bush swung to the far right on the gay marriage issue. Bush argued against a constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry, and he invoked his Catholic faith in referring to traditional marriage as a sacrament. Furthermore, the Republican presidential contender suggested that the only way to fight poverty in America was to defend traditional marriage. During the interview, Bush told Brody:
If we want to create a right to rise society, where people - particularly children born in poverty, if we want to have them have a chance…we have to restore committed, loving family life with a mom and dad loving their children with their heart and soul.
Bush called traditional marriage a “core American value” and he implied, by his argument, that same-sex couples were incapable of providing opportunity for their children to succeed. Although Jeb Bush tried to sound a less controversial, more moderate tone on gay marriage in early 2015, but as the Republican race has taken form, he has started tacking back to the far right on the issue.
Despite his reputation as a GOP moderate, Bush has never been friendly to LGBT rights. During his tenure as Florida Governor, Jeb Bush fought to uphold the state’s law forbidding same-sex couples from adopting children. Bush argued then, as he does now, that the only acceptable child-rearing unit is a family headed by a male father and a female mother. Yet, according to data from the 2013 National Health Insurance Survey (NHIS), approximately 200,000 U.S. children are already being raised by married or unmarried same-sex couples.
Bush’s simplistic argument for traditional marriage is not only an affront to gay and lesbian couples, but also to single parent households. Furthermore, his argument that only two parent, opposite-sex married couples can lift children from poverty, is also an implicit call for government inaction. Bush is trying to argue not only that gay marriage is not a right, but he is also trying to pass the buck by hinting that the government has no responsibility to address poverty.
In Bush’s narrow worldview, poverty is simply a product of family structure. His solution is to champion traditional marriage as a magic fix, rather than advancing proactive policies like raising the minimum wage or modifying the nation’s tax code. On the dual issues of marriage equality and income inequality, Jeb Bush made it abundantly clear during his CBN interview that he is as hopelessly reactionary as the rest of the Republican field.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.