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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