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Jeb Bush on gay marriages coming to Florida: "The people of the state decided"


[Updated at 4:58 p.m. with Florida Democratic Party's statement on Jeb Bush's comments.]

As he considers a presidential run, Jeb Bush is not offering encouraging words about same-sex marriages coming to his home state.

“It ought be a local decision. I mean, a state decision,” the former governor said Sunday in a brief interview. “The state decided. The people of the state decided. But it’s been overturned by the courts, I guess.”

His comments to the Miami Herald after a round of golf in Coral Gables tracked past statements by the Republican, who has said the gay-marriage question should be decided at the state level. But with Miami-Dade Countyready to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples as early as Monday if a judge approves — and the rest of the state following on Tuesday — the historic change is bound to bring even more attention to Bush’s somewhatguarded take on gay rights.

As governor, he was against same-sex marriage but wasn’t publicly enthusiastic about the successful 2008 campaign to rewrite the Florida Constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. Bush, who left office in 2007, said the change wasn’t needed, since state law already restricted marriage to heterosexual couples. Two years ago, he suggested in a PBS interview that gay parents could be held up as role models, even as he said “traditional marriage is what should be sanctioned” by the government.

In the 2012 interview, Bush toldCharlie Rose that “if people love their children with all their heart and soul and that’s what they do and that’s how they organize their life, that should be held up as an example to others, because we need it.” In a speech to a Republican group last year, Bush warned against being a party seen as against too many things, including being “anti-gay.”

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Update: Monday afternoon, the Florida Democratic Party issued a statement on Bush's comments to the Herald. The statement:
“Jeb Bush remains as out of touch as ever with Floridians and voters nationwide on the civil rights issue of our time. Bush championed these discriminatory policies as governor, and it’s a shame that he remains determined to stand for the forces of bigotry."