WASHINGTON: A broad coalition campaigning for marriage equality across the United States says it's "sorry" that former first lady Laura Bush is unhappy to appear in one of its ads.
In a commercial released this week, the Respect for Marriage Coalition included a clip of Bush telling talk-show host Larry King in 2010 that she favoured extending the right to marry to all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples.
"When couples are committed to each other and love each other then they ought to have the same sort of rights that everyone has," she said.
But Bush spokeswoman Anne MacDonald, quoted on Wednesday in the Dallas Morning News, said Mrs Bush never gave her approval to appear in the cable-TV ad and requested that she be removed from it.
The same ad also features two members of president George W. Bush's administration – his vice president Dick Cheney and secretary of state Colin Powell – as well as current president Barack Obama.
In a statement emailed to AFP on Thursday, a Coalition spokesperson said: "We used public comments for this ad from American leaders who have expressed support for civil marriage.
"We appreciate Mrs Bush's previous comments but are sorry she didn't want to be included in an ad," she added.
"The ad launched a public education campaign that will now move to new and different voices that reflect the depth and breadth of our support."
The Coalition on Thursday launched a new ad on its YouTube account featuring US Marine Corps veteran Craig Stowell, a straight Republican who embraced the cause of same-sex marriage after learning his brother was gay.
Gay marriage is legal in nine US states plus the District of Columbia. The federal government's refusal to recognise such marriages will be the topic of US Supreme Court hearings scheduled for March 26 to 27.
The Coalition, co-chaired by Freedom to Marry and the Human Rights Campaign, comprises a broad range of gay rights groups, labour unions, and social and civil rights organisations.
In an opinion poll it released on Monday alongside its $US1 million ($972,000) advertising blitz, the Coalition said three-quarters of US voters believe the marriage of a loving couple is a fundamental freedom and constitutional right.