Originally published on Advocate.com November 14 2003 12:00 AM ET
Gov. Jeb Bush joked during a Florida cabinet meeting that the people of San Francisco may be endangered and "that's probably good news for the country." The topic being discussed was environmental protection, and at the time of his remark, Bush was looking at a map showing locations boasting many different types of wildlife. "It looks like the people of San Francisco are an endangered species, which may not be a bad thing," Bush said during the meeting Wednesday. "That's probably good news for the country." People in the room broke into laughter. "Did I just say that out loud?" the governor continued.
While San Francisco mayor Willie Brown reportedly laughed off the comment as a tongue-in-cheek remark, Matt Foreman, head of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, didn't see anything
funny in it, believing it to be antigay because of San Francisco's large gay population. "It's extremely insulting," Foreman said. "But of course I would say that gay people in Florida are far more endangered than gay people in California."
Bush told reporters he was just joking, then added, "Don't call Willie Brown." Bush spokesman Jacob DiPietre later explained the governor's thinking: "The cabinet was talking about endangered species, and everyone knows that Republicans are an endangered species in California."