Metro Weekly

Jeb Bush: Gay marriage is not a constitutional right, religious discrimination is valid

Bush appeals to conservative voters in a frank interview on marriage equality

Jeb Bush - Credit: Gage Skidmore/flickr
Jeb Bush – Credit: Gage Skidmore/flickr

Jeb Bush continues to solidify his conservative view of  marriage as the race for the Republican nomination heats up.

Bush has long favored a traditional view of marriage, in line with his father and brother. However, when same-sex marriage was legalized in Florida following a federal court’s ruling that the existing ban was unconstitutional, he took a balanced view on the matter, stating, “regardless of our disagreements, we have to respect the rule of law.”

However, as he rubs shoulders with several conservative candidates unafraid to use religion as a vote-getter, Bush has been forced to up his rhetoric. In an interview Saturday with Christian Broadcast Network’s The Brody File, Bush was asked if he supported those who are concerned about “the marriage issue.”

“Well, I’m concerned about it as well,” Bush said. “I think traditional marriage is a sacrament…. So, irrespective of the Supreme Court ruling because they are going to decide whatever they decide, I don’t know what they are going to do, we need to be stalwart supporters of traditional marriage.

“We have to restore committed, loving family life with a mom and dad loving their children with their heart and soul,” he continued.

On the subject of marriage itself, host David Brody asked Bush whether he thought there was any constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

“I don’t, but I’m not a lawyer and clearly this has been accelerated at a warp pace,” he responded. “What’s interesting is four years ago Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton had the same view that I just expressed to you. It’s thousands of years of culture and history is just being changed at warp speed. It’s hard to fathom why it is this way.”

Echoing sentiments he made in March, Bush also affirmed his support for so-called “religious freedom” laws. These bills would legalize religious discrimination, letting a business owner refuse service to an LGBT customer because of their religious beliefs, with no repercussions from state government.

“People that act on their conscience shouldn’t be discriminated against, for sure. There should be protections,” Bush said at the time.

His views on the matter haven’t changed, though Brody focused his questions on discrimination with regards same-sex weddings in particular, asking Bush if he supported those who refuse to offer services for such a wedding.

“Yes, absolutely if it’s based on a religious belief,” Bush responded. “A big country, a tolerant country ought to be able to figure out the difference between discriminating someone because of their sexual orientation and not forcing someone to participate in a wedding that they find goes against their moral beliefs. We should be able to figure this out.”

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