Jeb Bush has launched his campaign to be president today (15 June).
The son of former President George H. W. Bush and brother of former President George W. Bush, he appears to be eschewing his dynastic name with a logo which reads only: ‘Jeb!’
The former Florida governor will officially enter the race with a speech and rally this afternoon, at Miami Dade University in Florida.
‘My core beliefs start with the premise that the most vulnerable in our society should be in the front of the line and not the back,’ Bush says in a video which is to be aired before the announcement speech, reported by ABC news.
‘What we need is new leadership that takes conservative principles and applies them so that people can rise up.’
Although he is a frontrunner for the Republican nomination, the 62-year-old will face tough competition from other candidates.
A CNN/ORC opinion poll, released earlier this month, found him virtually tied with Floridian senator Marco Rubio. Behind them, 10% of respondents said they supported Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. Also in the race are ultra-conservative Rick Santorum and libertarian Rand Paul.
Things could be made even more difficult for Bush, as a gay couple in Portland, Oregon are refusing to give up the domain name they bought back in 2008. CJ Phillips and Charlie Rainwater purchased JebBushForPresident.com when rumors began that the politician might run for president.
But instead of using it to promote Bush, they are planning on using it as a space for LGBTI discussion and advocacy.
Although his position has softened in recent years, Bush has a history of homophobia such as when he referred to gay people as ‘sodomists’.
In 2004 he wrote: ‘The public policy question is whether homosexuals deserve special legal protection…or, to put it another way, should sodomy be elevated to the same constitutional status as race and religion? My answer is no. We have enough special categories, enough victims, without creating even more.’
However in January 2015, after a federal court ruled Florida’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional, Bush seemed to alter his view. ‘We live in a democracy, and regardless of our disagreements, we have to respect the rule of law,’ he said.
‘I hope that we can show respect for the good people on all sides of the gay and lesbian marriage issue – including couples making lifetime commitments to each other who are seeking greater legal protections and those of us who believe marriage is a sacrament and want to safeguard religious liberty.’
Bush has even hired an openly gay communications director for his presidential bid, and others in his inner circle are supporters of gay marriage.
Meanwhile, fellow candidate Marco Rubio has consistently argued against equal marriage. Senator Ted Cruz and Governor Scott Walker have said they would introduce constitutional amendments to overturn a Supreme Court ruling on equal marriage, despite a rising tide of support for LGBTI rights nationwide.