Barbara Bush, daughter of George W., announced her support for gay marriage in a video yesterday: “I’m Barbara Bush and I’m a New Yorker for marriage equality. New York is about fairness and equality. And everyone should have the right to marry the person that they love.”
For those keeping track at home, that means that the daughters and wives of the last two GOP presidential candidates have spoken out in favor of gay rights. Meghan McCain has made it one of her pet issues; her mother Cindy also recently spoke out against Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and posed for an ad campaign against California’s proposed same-sex marriage ban. Laura Bush told Larry King that she supported gay marriage (and abortion) last spring . Of course, McCain the Senator was very much in favor of DADT, and President Bush favored a Constitutional ban of gay marriage. So one easy reading of this is that speaking out so publicly on an issue the politician in their lives was so publicly against is a form of rebellion. Or, perhaps, this is just an issue that all of these women feel strongly enough about to make their opinions clear, whatever feathers it might ruffle.
Or, especially in the case of the daughters, maybe it’s a sign of a generational shift in the Republican party: Twenty-four percent of self-described conservative Republicans of college age support gay marriage, compared with 14 percent nationally, according to a 2009 Pew poll .