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George H.W. Bush, No Ally But No Enemy of LGBTQ People, Dead at 94


The 41st president isn't thought of as a gay ally, but he was light years ahead of Ronald Reagan or even Donald Trump.

George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st president of the United States, who served one term from 1989-1993, died Friday at the age of 94, reports the Washington Post.

Bush was preceded in death by his wife, Barbara, who died in April. Bush was also the father of the 43rd president, George W. Bush, as well as of former Florida governor Jeb Bush.

The presidency of Bush, a Republican, is remembered for the 100-hour Iraq war of 1991, which followed Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. Bush also presided over the end of the Cold War and a painful American recession, the latter of which likely cost him a second term; he lost to Arkansas governor Bill Clinton in 1992.

Unlike Ronald Reagan, still regularly chastised for doing little to help the millions who died from AIDS -- many being gay, bi, or transgender -- during his administration, and Clinton, faulted for signing two disastrous antigay bills during his presidency, and W. Bush, who used gays as scapegoats in order to get reelected, and Donald Trump, who reversed numerous LGBTQ advances made under President Barack Obama, H.W. Bush's queer rights legacy is thin.

Bush signed the Hate Crimes Statistics Act in 1990, one of the first LGBTQ-inclusive bills.

"[The Act] required the attorney general to collect data about crimes that exhibit evidence of prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation or ethnicity," according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. "This led to the nationwide collection of hate crime dataunder the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program, which has been gathering crime data from state and local law enforcement agencies on a voluntary basis since 1930. The FBI uses the data to produce its annual hate crime report."

Bush also, oversaw the 1990 removal of a ban on "sexual deviation" from 1965's Immigration and Nationality Act, according to American Progress.

As president, Bush put two justices on the court, David Souter and Clarence Thomas; the latter of whom still lords over the high court with a nearly mute conservatism, with rulings that are exclusively anti-LGBTQ.

Thomas was memorably accused of sexual harassment by his co-worker Anita Hill. Bush himself was accused by several women of inappopriate touching, often when the former president was in his older years and confined to a wheelchair.

In 2013, Bush famously served as a witness to the wedding of two women in Maine.

Prior to serving as president, Bush was Reagan's vice president; Bush also served as a congressman serving Texas, the ambassador to the UN, an envoy to China, the chairman of the Republican Party, and director of the CIA.


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