Laura Bush: Take Me out of Pro-Gay Marriage Ad
(CNN) — A pro-same sex marriage group said Thursday they would begin airing a new television ad after their first spot featuring Laura Bush supporting marriage rights drew backlash from the former first lady.
“We used public comments for this ad from American leaders who have expressed support for civil marriage,” a spokesperson for the Respect for Marriage Coalition said. “We appreciate Mrs. Bush’s previous comments but are sorry she didn’t want to be included in an ad. The ad launched a public education campaign that will now move to new and different voices that reflect the depth and breadth of our support.”
The group’s new ad will feature a Republican military veteran who supports same-sex marriage rights. The group says after Friday, the new commercial will begin airing and the spot featuring Bush will stop.
Bush, who is one of three prominent Republicans featured in the spot, asked the ad’s creator to remove the portion of the ad that features a 2010 CNN interview where she comes out in support of gay marriage rights.
The advocacy commercial aired yesterday on CNN but was replaced by another spot Thursday at the request of the advertiser.
A statement from Bush’s spokeswoman Anne MacDonald said the former first lady “did not approve of her inclusion in this advertisement nor is she associated in any way with the group that made the ad.”
“When she became aware of the advertisement Tuesday night, we requested that the group remove her from it,” MacDonald said.
The spot features Bush speaking in a 2010 CNN interview with Larry King.
“When couples are committed to each other and love each other then they ought to have the same sort of rights that everyone has,” she is shown saying.
Those remarks came as a surprise at the time, since she appeared to be breaking ranks on the issue with her husband, former President George W. Bush. In 2011, her daughter Barbara appeared in a television spot for another pro-gay marriage group, the Human Rights Campaign.
The spot also features clips of former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Secretary of State Colin Powell voicing their support for same-sex marriage rights. A spokeswoman for Powell said Thursday they weren’t contacted for permission to use the clip, but that “his remarks are in the public domain and we have not asked them to remove it.”
A spokesman for Cheney did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the ad Thursday morning.
The group said Wednesday they would spend $1 million to air the spot nationally, as well as run print ads in major newspapers utilizing the same quotes from the Republicans who back equal marriage rights.
“None of us would want to be told we can’t marry the person we love,” a narrator says introducing the clips. “That’s why a growing majority of Americans believe it’s time to allow marriage for gay and lesbian couples.”
The ad shows Colin Powell, the former Secretary of State under George W. Bush, supporting same-sex marriage in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer from May.
“Allowing them to live together with the protection of law, it seems to me is the way we should be moving in this country,” Powell said on CNN’s “The Situation Room.”
That interview reflected a shift for Powell, who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy was implemented.
A third Republican, former Vice President Dick Cheney, is shown in the spot saying “Freedom means freedom for everyone.” Cheney’s younger daughter Mary wed her longtime partner Heather Poe in June. They were married in Washington, D.C., which legalized same-sex marriage in 2009.
And a Democrat, President Barack Obama, is shown during his January inauguration address declaring “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law.”
The new ad campaign comes as the Supreme Court prepares to tackle the issue of same-sex marriage this spring. Last year the high court agreed to hear two constitutional challenges to state and federal laws dealing with the recognition of gay and lesbian couples to legally wed.
Oral arguments will be held on March 26 and 27, with a ruling by late June.
By CNN’s Kevin Liptak
CNN’s Kevin Bohn contributed to this report.