Politics & Government

PolitiFact: Gov. Jeb Bush's stance on marriage equality examined

ST. PETERSBURG -- Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is still figuring out his next step when it comes to a possible presidential run on 2016. His critics are already on the offense, attacking the Republican’s political positions.

In a list of talking points, the Democratic National Committee claims: "Bush not only opposes marriage equality, he’s said he ‘personally’ believes gay couples should be banned from adopting children."

PolitiFact Florida rated the claim for its truthfulness. Writer Joshua Gillin said the claim rates MOSTLY TRUE. According to Gillin, Gov. Bush’s stance on marriage equality has shifted in recent weeks.

“His statements have erred to (say) he favors traditional marriage and these are things he may not want but that's the law and the law is the law,” Gillin said.

That wasn’t always the case when Gov. Bush was in office. Bush served as Florida’s governor from 1999 to 2007. During that time, PolitiFact found several instances where Bush consistently opposed gay marriage.

There was a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, which was eventually voted down in 2008, and a gay adoption ban eventually struck down in 2010.

Again, since leaving office, Bush has shifted his stance slightly. In a statement, his office said that, “We live in a democracy, and regardless of our disagreements, we have to respect the rule of law. I hope that we can also show respect for the good people on all sides of the gay and lesbian marriage issue – including couples making lifetime commitments to each other who are seeking greater legal protections and those of us who believe marriage is a sacrament and want to safeguard religious liberty."

Because of Gov. Bush’s recent shift in stance, PolitiFact Florida rated the claim by the DNC as MOSTLY TRUE.

SOURCES: GOVERNOR JEB BUSH ON MARRIAGE EQUALITYPolitiFact's ratingDemocratic National Committee, Talking points about former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Dec. 19, 2014Politico, "Leaked: Democrats attack plan for Jeb Bush," Dec. 19, 2014Former Gov. Jeb Bush, Facebook post about DNC talking points, Dec. 19, 2014Project Vote Smart, "Statement by Governor Bush regarding the ruling of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals," Jan. 28, 2004Orlando Sentinel, "Poll: Many oppose adoption by gays," (Accessed in Nexis) July 1, 2002Miami Herald, "Reno, McBride vie for gay vote," (Accessed in Nexis) Aug. 20. 2002Salon, "When Jeb Bush speaks, people cringe,"Oct. 5, 2002Miami Herald Debate Transcript, Jeb Bush vs. Bill McBride, (Accessed in Nexis) Oct. 16, 2002Associated Press "Gov. Bush's Remarks on Child's Case Criticized; 'Juicy Details' on Caregivers Cited," Oct. 4, 2002Miami Herald, "McBride, Bush clash over gay adoption," Accessed in Nexis, Oct. 16, 2002Miami Herald Debate Transcript, Jeb Bush vs. Bill McBride, (Accessed in Nexis) Oct. 16, 2002Miami Herald, "McBride, Bush clash over gay adoption," (Accessed in Nexis) Oct. 16, 2002Miami Herald, "Bush still guarded on gay rights," Jan. 5, 2014Sun-Sentinel, "Bush, McBride keep debate civil,"Oct. 16, 2002Tampa Bay Times, "GOP fuels gay marriage ban," (Accessed in Nexis) Jan. 12, 2006Miami Herald, "Ban on adoption by gays upheld by U.S. appeals court," (Accessed in Nexis) Jan. 29, 2004Tallahassee Democrat, "Bush opposes gay civil unions," (Accessed in Nexis) March 9, 2004Sun-Sentinel, "Bush speaks on gay unions," (Accessed in Nexis), Nov. 10, 2004Tampa Bay Times, "State GOP sinks another $150,000 to anti-gay initiative," Feb. 24, 2006Miami Herald, "Event could put Crist in a bind," (Accessed in Nexis) May 18, 2006Sun-Sentinel, "Bush tilts toward gay marriage ban," May 20, 2006Newsmax, "Jeb Bush: States should decide gay marriage," March 25, 2013New York Times, "Now in defense of gay marriage, Bill Clinton," March 26, 2013YouTube video of Jeb Bush at Mississippi College, "Jeb Bush on same sex marriage,"March 26, 2013Newsmax, "Jeb Bush, Paul Ryan wow donors in New York City with focus on poverty," May 13, 2014Washington Post PostPartisan, "Gross misunderstanding of Hillary Clinton on gay marriage," June 13, 2014CBN News, "I’ll run for president on my own record," June 17, 2013New York Times, "Jeb Bush’s emails as governor show his agenda and goals," Dec. 24, 2014Miami Herald, "U.S. Judge Robert Hinkle to Florida officials: respond by Monday in gay marriage case," Dec. 24, 2014Miami Herald, "Judge sets 11 a.m. Monday hearing in gay marriage case -- to lift her stay?"Dec. 29, 2014Associated Press, "Florida group tries to stop gay marriages," Dec. 30, 2014PolitiFact, "Wedding vendors have been forced to participate in same-sex marriages under threat or even jail, Family Research Council says," July 8, 2013PolitiFact Florida, "After he left the GOP, Charlie Crist said he no longer supported Florida’s gay adoption ban," Feb. 20, 2013PolitiFact Florida, "Fact-checking Jeb Bush, possible 2016 presidential contender," Dec. 16, 2014PolitiFact, "President Barack Obama’s shifting stance on gay marriage," May 11, 2012Interview, Rebecca Chalif, Democratic National Committee spokeswoman, Dec. 29, 2014Interview, Nadine Smith, Equality Florida CEO, Dec. 29, 2014Email interview with Kristy Campbell, Jan. 5, 2015