Marco Rubio's Record on Women and LGBT Rights Is Pretty Terrible

We're not ones to want to rain on someone's big day. It's not every day, after all, that you go and declare that you're running for president of the United States in a big showy stage from a historical building in downtown Miami.

But we're going to do it anyway. Because, as Marco Rubio makes the inevitable official — that he is indeed gunning for the White House — it's important to sift through the thicket of pomp and circumstance and big-money donors to remind ourselves of certain truths.

So while Rubio is young and Hispanic and so, by default via those things, "exciting," it's also critical to remember that he's still very much old-school about some pretty important things. Namely women's and LGBT rights.

A quick refresher course on what Rubio thinks of women and gays:

He Voted Against the Renewal of the Violence Against Women Act
In 2013, the U.S. Senate renewed the Violence Against Women Act by an overwhelming 78-22 vote. The renewal of the act included protection for domestic violence against gays, lesbians, immigrants, and Native American women. Since being established, the act has helped reduce national rates of domestic violence with programs and services, including the federal rape shield law, community violence prevention programs, funding for victim assistance services — such as rape crisis centers and hotlines — as well as providing legal aid for victims of violence.

Rubio was one of the 22 who voted no to renewing the act.

He Blasted Florida for Repealing the Same-Sex Ban
2015 kicked off with a bang when the state finally legalized same-sex marriage across the board. Gay couples from all over the state lined courthouse steps and got hitched. Some wanted to be counted among the first, while others simply wanted to take in the momentous occasion with laughter and tears. It was an historic moment for the state and the LGBT community. Florida was finally catching up with the times. And then Marco Rubio went and crapped all over it. 

While he was careful not to use antigay wording, Rubio was very much antigay marriage. Though he argued it was a legal issue.

"I do not believe that there is a U.S. Constitutional right to same-sex marriage," he said at the time. "I don't believe it's unconstitutional. I just don't believe there's a constitutional right to it." 

So in other words, he doesn't believe there's a constitutional right to it. Or, to put it another way, screw your rights, gay people.
He's Been Opposed to Same-Sex Marriage for a Long Time
At least he's consistent. 2015 wasn't the first time Rubio spoke out on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage. In 2013, he went the "states should have the right to define marriage in the traditional way" route while scoffing at the notion that he was somehow a bigot.Yet, even as he espoused the virtue of constitutionality, he's always been very pro "God in government," particularly when it comes to gay rights.

In 2013, he told the famously antigay Florida Family Policy Council: "We hear about keeping God out of our schools, keeping God out of our politics, keeping God out of other people's lives," Rubio said. "This is a ridiculous debate, because God is everywhere at every time."

He Once Made Robocalls for Vehement Antigay Group
In 2012, Rubio participated in an antigay campaign called the National Organization for Marriage. In robocalls made for the organization, Rubio joined Mike Huckabee and Focus on the Family cofounder James Dobson in asking people to "protect the sanctity of marriage" and vote against any same-sex initiatives found on voting ballots in Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maine, Maryland, and Washington state.

He Thinks It's Totally Fine for a Business to Fire Someone Just Because They're Gay
During a Faith and Freedom Forum luncheon in 2013, Rubio was asked about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a bill that would make it OK to discriminate against LGBT folks in the work place.

Here's how that exchange went down:

Scott Keyes: The senate this summer is going to be taking up the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which makes it illegal to fire someone for being gay. Do you know if you’ll be supporting that?

Rubio: I haven’t read the legislation. By and large, I think all Americans should be protected, but I’m not for any special protections based on orientation.

Keyes: What about on race or gender?

Rubio: Well, that’s established law.

Keyes: But not for sexual orientation?

So, while the knee-jerk reaction is that Rubio has taken the minority vote away from someone like Hillary Clinton, the fact is women and gays are too a minority.

So... it's a wash, then?
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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph