Marco Rubio promises to turn back the clock on LGBT progress

Marco Rubio continues to prove that he represents what old Republicans imagine a young person sounds like.

Billing himself as a new kind of Republican — a fresh face who can engage with the socially moderate and not-entirely-white youths of America — Rubio has continued to take stances to the right of pretty much everyone in the GOP field. From abortion to climate change to Muslim surveillance to Argentinian vulture funds, the only thing saving Rubio from being considered the most extreme candidate in the race is the GOP establishment’s desperation to find someone other than Donald Trump or Ted Cruz with a viable shot at winning the nomination.

So it should come as no surprise that he’s promising to roll back the clock on all of the progress the LGBT community has made under President Obama.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, Rubio told Christian Broadcasting Network that while the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v Hodges decision was “current law,” it was not “settled law.” As he explained, committed Christians should continue to ignore the ruling because at the end of the day, “God’s rules always win.” As he said, quoted by Right Wing Watch:

Marco Rubio, via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Marco Rubio, via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

In essence, if we are ever ordered by a government authority to personally violate and sin, violate God’s law and sin, if we’re ordered to stop preaching the gospel, if we’re ordered to perform a same-sex marriage as someone presiding over it, we are called to ignore that. We cannot abide by that because government is compelling us to sin.

No rabbi, minister or priest has been ordered to preside over a same-sex marriage they objected to, nor will they. The Supreme Court’s ruling that the government can’t deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples has precisely nothing to do with what individual religious leaders decide to allow in their own organizations.

However, marriage equality isn’t the only advance Rubio is taking issue with. As the Washington Blade reported yesterday, a Rubio administration would undo President Obama’s executive action banning LGBT workplace discrimination for federal contractors. From the Blade:

The U.S. senator from Florida said the U.S. government must not requite organizations “motivated by their faith or organized around their faith from having to violate the tenants of their faith, and that includes government contractors.” “There are many government contractors and small companies who provide services to the government who are faith-based people, and they are, they are being compelled to sin by government in their business conduct,” Rubio said. “That is not something we should be supporting.”

Rubio’s remarks came in the same interview in which he said that Obergefell was not “settled law,” but CBN didn’t publish that segment of the interview until this past Saturday. Here’s that segment:

[iframe width=”320″ height=”180″ src=”http://cbn.com/tv/embedplayernews.aspx?bcid=4646866901001″  frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen]

You’ll note that Rubio also promised to appoint justices to the Supreme Court who are hostile to both Obergefell and Roe v Wade. Expect Hillary Clinton to start pointing this out all the time.

That aside, though, Rubio’s comments make no sense. Currently, the United States government is choosing not to do business with companies that discriminate against LGBT workers. Those companies aren’t required to do business with the federal government — they aren’t “being compelled to sin” — they’re simply losing the privilege of working with the federal government while at the same time holding hiring and workplace policies that the federal government finds objectionable.

Also, since when was it a sin to not fire someone simply for being gay? As a Christian, since when were you obligated to actively weed LGBT people out of your workforce? The Bible only has a little to say about gay sex; it doesn’t have anything to say about gay workers.

The Republican establishment thinks that this is their guy to market their Rebrand for a New American Century™. How quaint.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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  • His Excellency

    Uh, Cuba is still run by a Communist totalitarian dictatorship that practices apartheid against its own people and which still has a Cold War mentality.

  • UncleBucky

    “Waters” Rubio has the right mix of popular, yet dangerous, conservative religions, RCC, Dunkers and Mormons. No other denomination gets you that much bang for the bucks!

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  • rwlorenz

    It may be difficult at times but remember the right-wing is all about personal liberty and small government. Do not let their reality obscure their rhetoric.

  • rwlorenz

    With the number of Republicans competing for the nomination, are there enough racist, bigoted, right-wing nut cases to go around? Little Marco is certainly reaching out for his share.

  • JaneE

    The government doesn’t force you to marry someone of the same sex, or perform the ceremony. It doesn’t even stop preachers from encouraging their congregants to kill gays. The government doesn’t force women to have abortions. Their partners or parents or health or economic circumstances may, but not the government. You can live your entire life without ever having an abortion, or sex with someone of the same gender, and the government is just fine with that. Or it will be until people like you take it over and trash the American constitution and most of its values.

  • Butch1

    They have always practiced “cafeteria religion” where they pick and choose what parts of the bible they wish to follow and which parts they will ignore. They are the biggest hypocrites as soon as they are caught.

  • Butch1

    Their time and his has past. The embargo has stopped working years ago, if it ever did. “Little Cuba” is dying off with its old inhabitants; the young want to re-establish ties again and see what their old country is like. Perhaps meet some of their relatives again. The embargo means nothing to them.

  • Butch1

    Billing himself as the new “old” republican will surely throw him on the heap of used and spent republican candidates who tried and lost the nomination for their parties’ first place run. He’s frantic and trying anything to make himself the farthest candidate to the right as he can. What he’s actually doing is narrowing his chances at becoming the one who can represent the whole party and not just the fringe base who holds all of these prejudiced beliefs that he is courting.

    If your advisers think this is your best chance rather than coming up with a plan and ideas to lead this country in another direction, then you go right ahead Senator, join the other theists and beat your bible as well; you aren’t ready for prime time anyway.

  • FLL

    Typical straw man argument from the Christianist faction of the Republican Party. No clergyman anywhere in the world has been forced to officiate a same-sex wedding against his or his denomination’s objections—not in Western Europe, not in Canada, not anywhere. As far as doing business with the federal government, since when are lucrative government contracts a constitutional right? Watch for Marco Rubio to significantly tone down his Christianist pandering by the time he reappears on the national political scene in 2020 or 2024. I doubt Rubio could beat Trump this time around because the anti-immigrant crowd defines the Republican rump political party today. That spells Trump.

  • MoonDragon

    Like so many of the radical Christian Right, Mr. Rubio has no objection in theory or practice to Sharia Law. His only animus is generated by the lack of a mention of Jeebus. He seems unwilling to use the term radical Christian terrorist when speaking about people like Rob Dear, Scott Roeder, or Eric Rudolph. He is quite willing to privilege laws based on foreign derived religious practices over US laws, as long as they are derived from the proper ancient tome or ill-documented scribblings of first and second century texts (edited, redacted, and bowdlerized by committees). All of which is interesting because he seems catholic (small c) in his religious proclivities, identifying variously as Roman Catholic, Southern Baptist, and Mormon (as the audience dictates.)

  • gratuitous

    Right on, Sen. Rubio! As a member of one of the historic peace churches, I find it goes very much against my religious beliefs to have so much of my taxes going to support the military and other violence. As Alexander Mack, one of the founders of the Church of the Brethren observed, “All war is sin.” I hope that your first act as President is to relieve me and all Quakers, Mennonites and Church of the Brethren members from that portion of their taxes that goes to support the military.

    That’s what you mean, isn’t it Senator?

  • nicho

    Anyone who says the bible condemns homosexuality doesn’t know the bible. Period. They’re phony.

  • emjayay

    They pull of couple sentences from Leviticus and then forget to make the proper burnt offerings of the proper animals in the proper way at the proper intervals after the birth of their child.

  • emjayay

    You forgot that he wants to roll back Cuba policy to the 1960’s. He’s an annoying little overachiever boy who doesn’t realize he’s a clone of his parents with no ideas of his own.

  • Cambel

    You have to love fake Christians like Rubio that try to claim the Bible tells them to hate gays, but then they have no problem committing adultery, borrowing money at interest, doesn’t want to change the divorce laws, etc…

    Guess, those major parts of the Bible were inconvenient so they only like to use the part that they can use to defend their bigotry.

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