March 1, 2004

Is Bush an anti-gay bigot? This story, recounted by Elisabeth Bumiller in today's NYT seems quite telling:
Last spring, during a class of 1968 Yale reunion that he held at the White House, Mr. Bush had a particularly striking encounter with Petra Leilani Akwai, who in 2002 had a sex-change operation. At Yale, Ms. Akwai was known as Peter Clarence Akwai.

"I was in the receiving line, I was dressed in an evening dress, and I was being escorted by a male friend from the Yale class of 1986," Ms. Akwai said in a telephone interview this weekend from Germany, where she lives. "And I said, `Hello, George.' And in order for him not to be confused, in case he hadn't been briefed, because our class was all male, I said, `I guess the last time we spoke, I was still living as a man.' "

"And he said," Ms. Akwai recounted, " `But now you're you.' "

Ms. Akwai said the president seemed completely comfortable. "He leaned forward and gave me a little sort of smile," she said. "I thought it was a sincere thing, and it was very charming."

The article believably supports the view that Bush was forced into saying something about gay marriage, because he was "under enormous pressure from his evangelical Christian supporters," but that he is quite uninterested in going back to this issue at all, let alone making it a centerpiece or wedge issue in his campaign.

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