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Two Months After Orlando Tragedy, Rubio Still Unwilling to Stand Up for LGBTQ Floridians

by Stephen Peters August 12, 2016

Today, on the two-month anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting that took the lives of 49 LGBTQ people and allies, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) courted anti-LGBTQ activists just 10 miles from the site of the tragedy in Orlando. Rubio, who has a long track record of opposing LGBTQ protections and basic gun safety measures, railed against marriage equality and criticized LGBTQ advocates for fighting against taxpayer-funded discrimination. Despite his own record of opposing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and President Obama's executive order protecting LGBTQ workers -- not to mention basic gun safety measures to keep military-style weapons out of the hands of terrorists and criminals -- Rubio attempted to gloss over his dismal record of failing to stand up for LGBTQ Americans.

HRC called out Rubio and his rhetoric.

“Unfortunately, Marco Rubio has a long, documented history of opposing LGBTQ equality,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs. “Speaking out of both sides of his mouth, Rubio suggested he believes employment discrimination against LGBTQ people is wrong, but yet he has consistently opposed even modest steps to provide non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people. On a day when he should be honoring the victims of the horrific massacre in Orlando and advocating for commonsense gun safety measures, Marco Rubio is shamefully courting the votes of anti-LGBTQ activists and showcasing his opposition to the fundamental civil rights of LGBTQ people.”

Rubio has been an advocate for legislation enabling Kim Davis-style discrimination, including the so-called “First Amendment Defense Act” (FADA). FADA would allow non-profit organizations and businesses contracting with the federal government to circumvent critical federal protections designed to protect LGBTQ people and their families from harmful discrimination. And, he opposed repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump addressed the notoriously anti-LGBTQ activists yesterday at the same event, and when it comes to opposing LGBTQ equality, Donald Trump and Marco Rubio are two dangerous peas in a pod.

Polling released by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute found that both Rubio and Trump are massively out of step with Floridians on LGBTQ issues. A 53 percent majority of Floridians support marriage equality, while a 70 percent majority support LGBTQ non-discrimination protections, which Florida lacks.

Opposed to Marriage Equality: Donald Trump and Marco Rubio both oppose marriage equality and have specifically vowed to nominate Supreme Court Justices who would vote to overturn last year’s landmark marriage equality ruling. Rubio vowed he would appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn Obergefell and in late January, Trump told Fox News Sunday he would appoint justices to the Supreme Court who would reverse marriage equality. When asked to clarify by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos a week later, Trump again doubled down. During the presidential campaign, Rubio even promised that he would “never change” when it comes to opposing marriage equality.

Opposed to Transgender Equality: Rubio and Trump both oppose allowing transgender students to use facilities that correspond to their gender identity. Trump told The Washington Post he would reverse the administration’s guidance ensuring that transgender students are treated with respect, and can use restrooms that correspond with their gender identity. Trump has also endorsed North Carolina’s dangerous HB2 law, and has said he would let anti-LGBTQ governors write discrimination into state law.

Support Kim Davis-Style, Taxpayer-Funded Discrimination: Donald Trump and Marco Rubio both support and have said they would sign the so-called “First Amendment Defense Act,” (FADA) a bill to allow Kim Davis style discrimination in the federal government.

Revoking President Obama’s Executive Orders: Both Trump and Rubio have vowed to revoke President Obama's executive orders on their first day in office -- jeopardizing the President’s executive order protecting LGBTQ employees working for federal contractors. The loss of these protections is not just a hypothetical danger. Recently the House Armed Services Committee added an amendment to the defense authorization that would undermine President Obama’s executive order banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity for federal contractors -- an executive order that covers 20 percent of the workforce. And Trump has made clear he’s not going to fight these types of efforts.

Paid for by Human Rights Campaign PAC. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. 

Stephen Peters
Stephen Peters


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