If former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) officially enters the 2016 White House race, he probably won’t be able to use the website JebBushForPresident.com.
The domain is owned by CJ Phillips and Charlie Rainwater, a self-described “bear couple” from Oregon who told Business Insider they plan to use the site “as a platform to educate our friends and family about political impact to LGBT families.”
“We’re a couple of high tech bears who both work in the microprocessor design industry, yes you could say we’re just a couple of nerds,” the two men explain on their personal home page.
In an email, Phillips said they purchased JebBushForPresident.com in 2008.
“Early tentative plans were to essentially blog about how we felt about various legislation happening nationally and worldwide. For example, at the time Texas legislature was either planning to pass or had already passed a bill that made the legal documents created by any couple in a relationship that mimicked marriage null and void,” Phillips explained. “We didn’t see LGBT equality getting any better, and we felt said rights would more than likely still be in the spotlight in the run up for the next several election cycles. Jeb’s name was already being bandied about in the news as a potential presidential candidate, and we felt sure he’d be running in a future election.”
Last month, Bush launched a leadership PAC and said he plans to “actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States.”
If Bush does decide to move forward with a campaign, gay issues could be a thorny subject for him. Early on in his political career, Bush expressed staunch opposition to gay rights and used the term “sodomy” when discussing legal protections for the community. Bush has moderated his tone in the leadup to his potential presidential bid.
A spokeswoman for Bush did not respond to an email from Business Insider asking if he has made any attempt to purchase JebBushForPresident.com or if he had any comment on Phillips and Rainwater’s plans for the site.
According to Phillips, the couple has received multiple offers from interested parties looking to buy the domain.
“We’ve had a couple of offers. One person asked flat out why a gay couple would have a candidate centric domain,” he said, adding, “The latest was someone saying they wanted to buy the domain as a birthday present for a friend, awwww!”
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