Two Gay "Bears" Are Punking The GOP's Top Presidential Contender

While no one has come out officially as a candidate for president in 2016, one of the most talked about maybes is Jeb Bush — the younger brother of President George W. Bush and the son of President George H.W. Bush.

Last week, Jeb took a big first step toward an official campaign and launched a website. That site was called JebBushEmails.com — in part, because he planned to post a bunch of emails on it, but also because JebBushForPresident.com was taken. The site is owned by a bearded couple — two self-described "bears" — and they're not selling. 

CJ Phillips and Charlie Rainwater bought the site years ago to express their anger over the Bushes and the Republican Party's stance on gay rights. Now that Jeb Bush is back in the headlines, they plan to keep it and use it as a way to build awareness around LGBT issues. 

We caught up with CJ Phillips to see what they'd like to use their site for, and what he'd like Jeb Bush to know.


So, you and your partner bought JebBushForPresident.com in 2008. What prompted that decision?
Three things lined up to give us the inspiration. George W. was just leaving office and there was already talk of his younger brother Jeb running in the next cycle. There was an internet meme going around that 2016 was going to be Jeb vs. Chelsea Clinton [laughs], and in Texas [where we lived at the time] the Legislature was passing a bill to invalidate all of Charlie and my legal documents. The latter hacked us off, so two minutes on the web and $8 later, it was ours.

And, you never gave it up?
We talked about it every time we had to renew it, but each time we decided to keep it.

Now that there's all this attention, what are you plans for the site?
Do as much network-building as possible! The more people we can tell, the more we can use the platform to educate folks about social issues we need to address as a country.

Talk about how much gay rights have shifted. Around the time when you bought the site, marriage equality was legal in only a handful of mostly East Coast states. Last week, we got Alabama. How's that feel to watch?
Charlie and I are thinking we want to get married on our 20th anniversary, which is in a couple of years. We love how much progress has been made, and we're really hoping the SCOTUS makes a stand this year!

What would you say to the Jeb Bush campaign about their stance on gay rights?
That while I understand they're courting voters, the job of any elected official is to move the country forward. Stop playing people to keep your power base.

Who are you voting for in 2016?
At this point, we're waiting to see which candidate is going to bring the most to the table. There are so many issues we need to work on as a country. Our votes will go the person who's focused on solving them.
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