Wow. I did NOT see

Wow. I did NOT see this coming:

Some conservative groups expressed dismay Tuesday over President Bush’s tolerance of state-sanctioned civil unions between gay people — laws that would grant same-sex partners most or all the rights available to married couples.

“I don’t think we should deny people rights to a civil union, a legal arrangement, if that’s what a state chooses to do so,” Bush said in an interview aired Tuesday on ABC. Bush acknowledged that his position put him at odds with the Republican platform, which opposes civil unions.

“I view the definition of marriage different from legal arrangements that enable people to have rights,” said Bush, who has pressed for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. “States ought to be able to have the right to pass laws that enable people to be able to have rights like others.”

No, it’s not an outright endorsement of civil unions, but it’s very, very close. Referring to civil unions as “laws that enable people to be able to have rights like others” is major progress. I’ve never expected Bush to be a Kennedy on gay rights, but he appears to be close to becoming an Eisenhower.

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