As Jeb Bush Gears up 2016 Presidential Campaign, HRC Highlights His Opposition to LGBT Equality

by Ianthe Metzger

WASHINGTON – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, released a comprehensive research report on potential presidential candidate Jeb Bush that highlights his record opposing LGBT equality.

The research document marks the Human Rights Campaign’s first effort to chronicle where potential 2016 presidential candidates stand on LGBT equality. The document, which will be hosted at, will serve as an online resource for documenting the record and rhetoric of potential 2016 GOP presidential candidates, and where they stand on key LGBT issues. Bush is among the first tier of candidates to be released by HRC.

 “The simple fact is that actions speak louder than words, and as Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush opposed marriage equality,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC’s VP for Policy and Political Affairs. “Given his record, Jeb Bush needs to explain whether he supports or opposes a new constitutional amendment that would define marriage as one man and one woman that is supported by some candidates.”

With a Supreme Court ruling on marriage expected this summer, Sen Ted Cruz has pledged to introduce a constitutional amendment that would prevent the federal government from striking down state marriage laws.

Download the full research report here. The website highlights the public statements of candidates on key issues including: positions on marriage equality, support for anti-discrimination bills, positions on dangerous conversion therapy, history of spiteful anti-LGBT rhetoric and positions on allowing LGBT couples to adopt.  As candidates evolve and expand their positions on LGBT issues, (and as the field changes) this research will be updated to take into account their most recent publicly available statements. Additions, questions and suggestions can be sent

Highlights on What’s at Stake and Where Bush Stands:

Overview: As governor of Florida, Jeb Bush consistently opposed marriage equality for LGBT Americans. And he showed a willingness to appoint staff and contribute money to causes that had strong anti-equality agendas. [Citations/Full Research Brief]

On Marriage Equality: As governor, Bush said he believed marriage was between “one man” and “one woman” and eventually supported amending Florida’s constitution to oppose same-sex marriage. [Citations/Full Research Brief]

On LGBT Discrimination: When asked by a potential LGBT employee about his policy on hiring gay person, Bush suggested the employee should stay closeted. He has a history of opposing protections for LGBT Americans as “special legal rights,” and while he now says he believes in preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation, he has not said whether he supports ENDA. [Citations/Full Research Brief]

Harmful Rhetoric: Bush called marriage and partner benefits for LGBT Americans “special rights.”   [Download Full Research Brief]

Adoption: Bush opposed allowing LGBT couples to adopt as governor. After same-sex couples were allowed to adopt, Bush said he respected the law. [Download Full Research Brief]

Anti-bullying: Set up Commission on Bullying after student committed suicide. [Download Full Research Brief]

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.


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