George Bush Snr at wedding of Bonnie Clement and Helen Thorgalsen, with wife barbara PIC: Facebook

Former US president George HW Bush attended a wedding between two gay women - an act which might not have been too popular with his own ex-president son.

Bush senior, whose Republican party has taken a tough stance against gay marriage, attended the ceremony in Maine in a wheelchair with his wife Barbara by his side.

He acted as a witness in nuptials between Bonnie Clement and Helen Thorgalsen. The pair own a convenience store in the nearby town of Kennebunk, close to where the Bushes own a large property.

George and Barbara Bush are friends with the newly-weds and attended the wedding as private citizens, a spokesman said.

After celebrating tying the knot, Thorgalsen uploaded to Facebook a picture of her together with her new wife and the Bushes. She captioned the image: "Getting our marriage license witnessed!"

The occasion was a rare public appearence by the former US commander in chief, the 41st occupant of the White House. But the 89-year-old would not have been able to attend at all, had his son got his way by halting gay marriage during his own presidency.

In 2004, George W Bush endorsed an amendment banning same-sex marriage. He has since refused to come out in support of gay marriage during an interview.

The issue of gay marriage has vexed the United States in recent years, but was less contentious when Bush Snr was in the White House.

Gay marriage was legalised in Maine last year.