Former president George W. Bush's daughter Barbara has joined the fight for marriage equality, releasing a video for the Human Rights Campaign calling on New Yorkers to change their laws.
"I am Barbara Bush, and I am a New Yorker for marriage equality," said the 29-year old city resident, long the less visible half of the Bush twins who captured the public imagination during their father's tenure in the White House. "New York is about fairness and equality. And everyone should have the right to marry the person that they love."
She concludes her short video by asking viewers, "Join us."
Barbara Bush has close ties to the gay community through her work in the design world, The New York Times reports:
Barbara Bush, who started a nonprofit group focused on global health, rarely speaks out on American political issues, making her foray into the same-sex marriage debate so striking. But for years, those close to her say, she has surrounded herself with gay friends -- at Yale, where she was an undergraduate, and in New York City, where she worked in the design world.
C. Brian Smith, a friend from college who is gay, recalled that the Yale Ms. Bush inhabited was filled with openly gay students and unbothered by questions about sexuality. "She had that mind-set," he said. "She was loved by the gay community at Yale."
With her statement, Barbara Bush joins high-profile political daughter Meghan McCain as a voice against the sort of gay marriage bans advocated President Bush and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
In so doing, she is expressing the values of her generation, HRC noted; 58 percent of Americans 18-29 support gay marriage, according to a 2010 survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. A January 27 Quinnipiac University poll found 56 percent of New York State voters backed same-sex marriage, the highest level of support ever measured among state residents.
A measure to legalize same-sex marriage failed in New York in 2009, but legislation on this front could be taken up by the state legislature again as early as this spring.
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