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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
February 25, 2005

Recordings show early Bush views on gays

Washington, D.C.--Secretly recorded comments from then-Gov. George W. Bush illustrate a man walking a political tightrope, trying to appease the religious right without alienating secular voters.

The phone conversations were recorded between 1998 and 2000 by Doug Wead, a former advisor to Bush�s father who continued to be a sounding-board to the younger politician.

Bush was courted by prominent right-wing Christians, among them Rev. James Robison, an evangelical Texas minister, who wanted Bush to attack gays.

�Look, James,� the New York Times quotes Bush recalling his response to Robison. �I�m not going to kick gays, because I�m a sinner. How can I differentiate sin?�

In a report he read aloud from an aide who went to a Christian Coalition convention, Bush noted, �This crowd uses gays as the enemy. It�s hard to distinguish between fear of the homosexual political agenda and fear of homosexuality, however.�

Bush�s comments then present a marked difference from his position now.

�This is an issue I have been trying to downplay,� he noted. �I think it is bad for Republicans to be kicking gays.�

However, even seven years ago, Bush opposed same-sex marriage and what he called �special rights.� He denied, however, saying that he would not hire gays, insisting that what he said is that he would not fire someone for being gay.


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