Jeb Bush Says He's Evolved From Comments on Unwed Parents

The ghost of the Florida governor, circa 1994, strikes again.

Photographer: Piotr Malecki/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Jeb Bush's evolution continues.

On Tuesday, the Huffington Post published a story about Bush's 1995 book Profiles in Character, in which he implied that communities making unmarried parents feel ashamed kept the out-of-wedlock birth rate down:

One of the reasons more young women are giving birth out of wedlock and more young men are walking away from their paternal obligations is that there is no longer a stigma attached to this behavior, no reason to feel shame. Many of these young women and young men look around and see their friends engaged in the same irresponsible conduct. Their parents and neighbors have become ineffective at attaching some sense of ridicule to this behavior. There was a time when neighbors and communities would frown on out of wedlock births and when public condemnation was enough of a stimulus for one to be careful.

In Warsaw on Thursday, Bush told reporters he had evolved on public shaming, though didn't specify how his opinions had changed.

“My views have evolved over time, but my views about the importance of dads being involved in the lives of children hasn’t changed at all,” he said. "It’s a huge challenge for single moms to raise children in the world that we’re in today and it hurts the prospects, it limits the possibilities of young people being able to live lives of purpose and meaning."

Earlier in the week, the Bush campaign also pointed CNN toward a passage of the book in which Bush writes that single-parent homes aren't "bad or ineffectual," but "[h]aving a second supportive parent helps."

This isn't the first time a reporter has highlighted a controversial comment from the former Florida Governor's past. In JanuaryBuzzFeed reported that in a 1994 Miami Herald op-ed Bush wrote that "sodomy" shouldn't be "elevated to the same constitutional status as race and religion," and that there are enough "special categories" and "victims." A Bush spokeswoman told BuzzFeed that the article didn't reflect his current views.

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