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Marco Rubio Might Be the Most Antigay Presidential Candidate Yet

Marco Rubio Might Be the Most Antigay Presidential Candidate Yet


Rubio is the latest Republican presidential candidate to announce his bid, but he's already racked up an extensive antigay record.

Whether the issue is marriage equality, immigration, adoption, or ex-gay "therapy," Marco Rubio has made his position on LGBT people clear: He doesn't like them.

Rubio informed his donors of his plans to run for president in 2016 early this morning. He's the third officially declared Republican candidate, joining Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.

When it comes to marriage, Rubio said in 2011 that the Defense of Marriage Act "protects one of our most sacred institutions," and said that same-sex couples from marriage was the "ideal ... situation to raise children."

A year later, he even went so far as to correct a report that he was "open" to marriage equality as "not accurate." Later that same year, he lent his voice to the antigay National Organization for Marriage's robocalls against marriage equality and said that the Supreme Court should defer to voters when it comes to marriage.

In a recent blog post, NOM referred to Rubio as a "real marriage champion."

Rubio's hostility to protections for LGBT families doesn't end there. In 2013, Rubio opposed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, saying "I'm not for any special protections based on orientation."

He even threatened to vote against his own immigration bill if it extended any rights to binational same-sex couples. "It kills the bill," he said of a possible amendment seeking to protect LGBT immigrants. "I'm gone. I'm off it."

Earlier this year, Rubio told Meet the Press and Fox News that businesses should be exempted from nondiscrimination requirements when serving gay and lesbian couples.

Among his other positions, Rubio opposed allowing LGBT parents to adopt children, calling parenting by them "a social experiment," according to the Human Rights Campaign. Amid the congressional debate over ending the military policy known as "don't ask, don't tell," a spokesperson for then-candidate Rubio said he "doesn't see any reason for [DADT] to change," despite the forced ouster of more than 13,000 qualified gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members under the now-defunct law.

Rubio also helped raise funds for the Florida Family Policy Council, a right-wing organization that promotes abusive "ex-gay therapy," which has been condemned by every major medical and mental health organization in the country. "We are not going to tolerate someone who is 'here and queer; loud and proud,' all of that nonsense," said the group's president John Stemberger, in a video address before Rubio delivered a keynote speech at the event's fall 2013 gathering. "That is completely inappropriate."

Counterintuitively, mainstream media reports that Rubio is seeking to be a uniter of various Republican ideological factions. But his policy positions are at odds with a growing consensus within the Republican Party that LGBT Americans should be entitled to equal treatment.

At the very least, the broader GOP constituency seems to be coming to terms with the reality that marriage equality will not bring about the end times, as a March poll found that 71 percent of Florida Republicans said the arrival of marriage equality in the Sunshine State had either "no impact" or a "positive impact" on their lives. Earlier this month, more than 300 conservatives and Republicans submitted a pro-equality brief to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Matt Baume