Laura Bush Asks Gay Marriage Equality Group To Remove Her From Ad Campaign

Former first lady Laura Bush requested she be removed from a pro-marriage equality group's national ad campaign, the Dallas Morning News reported Wednesday.

Bush's request came after the official launch of a print, online and television ad campaign spearheaded by the Respect for Marriage Coalition, group of more than 80 organizations co-chaired by Freedom to Marry and the Human Rights Campaign.

The ad opens with a clip from 2010 featuring Bush telling CNN's Larry King that she supports gay marriage and abortion rights. In the clip, Bush says, "When couples are committed to each other and love each other, then they ought to have the same sort of rights that everyone has.”

A statement issued by Bush's spokeswoman, Anne MacDonald, claims the former first lady became aware of the advertisement Tuesday night and "requested that the group remove her from it."

According to MacDonald, Bush "did not approve of her inclusion in this advertisement nor is she associated with the group that made the ad in any way."

During the same "Larry King Live" program in May 2010, Bush had this to say about marriage equality:

I think that we ought to definitely look at it and debate it. I think there are a lot of people who have trouble coming to terms with that because they see marriage as traditionally between a man and a woman, but I also know that when couples are committed to each other and love each other that they ought to have the same sort of rights that everyone has.

The clip of Bush's appearance aired in the Respect for Marriage coalition campaign alongside clips of prominent figures from both parties, including former Secretary of Defense Colin Powell, former Vice President Dick Cheney and President Barack Obama, vocalizing their support for gay marriage on various news stations over the years.

Respect for Marriage Coalition has issued a statement to Politico on the matter.

“We used public comments for this ad from American leaders who have expressed support for civil marriage,” the group said. “We appreciate Mrs. Bush’s previous comments but are sorry she didn’t want to be included in an ad. The ad launched a public education campaign that will now move to new and different voices that reflect the depth and breadth of our support.”

The ad is set to air on several television networks' Sunday programs in the coming weeks, and full-page print ads will appear in news publications such as The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, according to the coalition's press release.

A second ad from the group, entitled "Stowell," will feature a Republican military veteran named Craig Stowell and will start running this weekend.

Watch the "Stowell" ad below:

UPDATE -- 4:51 p.m.: The Respect for Marriage Coalition said they're "sorry" Bush wants out of the ads. The AP reports:

DALLAS — A pro-gay marriage group says it's "sorry" former first lady Laura Bush does not want to be included its national advertising campaign featuring prominent people speaking about gay marriage and says its campaign will "now move to new and different voices."

The Respect for Marriage Coalition said Thursday that it appreciates Bush's previous comments. Print, television and online ads launched this week featured Bush telling CNN: "When couples are committed to each other and love each other then they ought to have the same sort of rights that everyone has."

Bush had said she wanted to be removed from the campaign, which also includes clips of former Vice President Dick Cheney.

The coalition says a new ad will begin running this weekend.

Clarification: This story has been updated to reflect the Human Rights Campaign is made up of more than 80 organizations.



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