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George H.W. Bush is witness at same-sex marriage

President H.W. Bush prepares to sign the marriage license of Bonnie Clement (left) and Helen Thorgalsen (right), friends of the Bushes.

Susan Biddle/Associated Press

President H.W. Bush prepares to sign the marriage license of Bonnie Clement (left) and Helen Thorgalsen (right), friends of the Bushes.

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His nearly namesake son is opposed to same-sex marriage, but former President George H.W. Bush apparently isn’t. At least he wasn’t the other day when the 41st president and his wife, Barbara, were official witnesses at the wedding of two longtime friends in Maine. The Bushes attended the wedding of Bonnie Clement and Helen Thorgalsen, owners of a general store in Kennebunk. The Bush family compound is in the neighboring town of Kennebunkport. On her Facebook page, Thorgalsen posted a photo showing Bush signing the marriage license, captioning the photo: ‘‘Getting our marriage license witnessed!’’ In the picture, Bush is seated in a wheelchair, wearing one bright red sock and one bright blue sock. In 2004, President George W. Bush announced his support for a proposed constitutional amendment to outlaw same-sex marriage. In response to a query from the Associated Press, a spokesman for the younger Bush declined this week to comment on his father’s role in a same-sex wedding. Attempts to contact Clement and Thorgalsen were unsuccessful Thursday, but Clement e-mailed The Washington Post from the couple’s honeymoon in London. “This is such a wonderful time for change in our legal system,” she wrote. “Who would be best to help us acknowledge the importance of our wedding as our friends and as the former leader of the free world? When they agreed to do so we just felt that it was the next acknowledgment of being ‘real and normal.’ ” Gay marriage became legal in Maine last December.

Mark Shanahan can be reached at shanahan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MarkAShanahan. Meredith Goldstein can be reached at mgoldstein@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MeredithGoldste.
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