Jeb Bush Says Gay Marriage Isn't a Constitutional Right

The former Florida governor said the success of the country is directly tied to having "a child-centered family system."

Republican Presidential Hopefuls Meet With Potential Iowa Voters

on May 16, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa.

Photographer: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Jeb Bush knows the way he would rule on same-sex marriage if he were a Supreme Court justice. 

Interviewed Sunday by the Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody, Bush was asked whether he believed that gay marriage was a right protected by the U.S. constitution. 

“I don’t, but I’m not a lawyer, and clearly this has been accelerated at a warp pace,” he said. 

The Supreme Court is expected to rule sometime next month on whether gay marriage should be made legal in all 50 U.S. states, and Bush tied the future of the country itself to the issue of the family structure. 

"To imagine how we're going to succeed in our country unless we have committed family life, a child-centered family system, is hard to imagine," Bush said. "Irrespective of the Supreme Court ruling, because they're going to decide whatever they decide, and I don't know what they're going to do, we need to be stalwart supporters of traditional marriage."

In previous interviews, Bush has argued that same-sex marriage is something best left to the states to decide. On Sunday, however, he spoke about the issue in much more urgent, and moralistic terms. 

"If we want to create a right-to-rise society, where people, particularly children born in poverty, if we want to have them have a chance we should be—a core American value," Bush said, "we have to restore committed, loving family life with a mom and a dad loving their children with their heart and soul." 

In the wake of the nationwide controversy over so-called religious freedom laws, that critics argue allow for discrimination against same-sex couples, Bush was asked whether he thought it acceptable for business owners to refuse to provide services for a gay wedding. 

"Yeah, absolutely," Bush said. "If it's based on a religious belief. The best example is the florist in Washington state who may lose her business because of this and has lost a lot because of the costs of all of this. She had a regular customer who came in and she would provide flowers to him and he was going to marry his significant other—asked her to participate as a friend in the wedding, to help organize it, and she thought about it and said, 'look, I love you. You're my friend, but I can't participate. It goes against my conscience.'"

In the case Bush referenced, a superior court judge in Washington ruled in February that Baptist florist Barronelle Stutzman had violated the state's anti-discrimination and consumer protection laws by citing her religious beliefs as her reason for not providing floral arrangements for a same-sex wedding. 

"A big country, a tolerant country ought to be able to figure out the difference between discriminating against someone because of their sexual orientation and forcing someone to participate in a wedding that they find goes against their moral beliefs," Bush said. 

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