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Jeb on gay marriage: courts are overturning a decision by 'people of the state'

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 somewhat guarded 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. More from Doug Hanks and Steve Rothaus here.