Laura Bush Supports Gay Marriage, Abortion

"When the right wing was using same-sex couples as election year pawns and the president calling for a cynical constitutional amendment to deny people rights, we would have welcomed support from the first lady. Nevertheless, her speaking out for marriage equality shows that more and more Americans realize all families need the same rights and protections," said Michael Cole, spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group.

Conservatives said Laura Bush had hinted at her positions in the past and that her opinions neither influenced policy nor reflected the sentiments of the American people.

"It's disappointing to hear Laura Bush, who is a well respected and admired former first lady, espouse positions on marriage and the value of human life that are contrary not only to her husband's but arguably, according to polls, in conflict with the majority of Americans," said Carrie Gordon Earll, spokeswoman for the conservative group Focus on the Family.

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