Group 'Sorry' Bush Wants Out Of Gay-Marriage Ads

By Jamie Stengle

DALLAS (AP) -

A pro-gay marriage group will replace ads that include former first lady Laura Bush speaking on the topic with a new ad this weekend after Bush said she did not want to be part of its campaign.

The Respect for Marriage Coalition said Thursday that it appreciated Bush's previous comments, "but are sorry she didn't want to be included in an ad." The national advertising campaign of print, television and online ads that launched this week featured part of a Bush interview on CNN in which she says: "When couples are committed to each other and love each other then they ought to have the same sort of rights that everyone has."

The coalition made up of more than 80 organizations supporting gay marriage said the ad was part of "a public education campaign that will now move to new and different voices that reflect the depth and breadth of our support."

The ads that began running Wednesday also included clips of President Barack Obama, former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Secretary of Defense Colin Powell talking favorably about same-sex marriage.

Bush spokeswoman Anne MacDonald has said that Bush asked to be removed from the campaign after learning that she was being featured. MacDonald has said Bush "did not approve of her inclusion in this advertisement nor is she associated in any way with the group that made the ad."

After the coalition released its statement Thursday, MacDonald said Bush would have no further comment.

Cheney, whose daughter Mary is gay, said in a speech at the National Press Club in 2009 that he supports gay marriage but believes that states, not the federal government, should make the decision. The Respect for Marriage Coalition's ad campaign featured a clip of Cheney telling the National Press Club that "freedom means freedom for everyone."

Powell was shown in a clip from CNN saying, "Allowing them to live together with the protection of the law, it seems to me is the way we should be moving in this country." Obama's quote came from his inaugural address this year during which he said, "Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law."

The new ad starting this weekend features former Marine Cpl. Craig Stowell, who says that after finding out that his brother was gay he "wanted the same rights for him."

"He was the best man at my wedding and I want to be the best man at his," said Stowell, who notes he is a Republican.


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