Post submitted by Ianthe Metzger, former HRC Deputy Press Secretary
Marco Rubio’s latest anti-LGBT comments serve as the perfect example of just how much is at stake in this upcoming election. When questioned about RFRAs and non-discrimination protections, at a campaign event in Waverly, Iowa, Rubio boldly doubled down on his belief that religion can be used as an excuse to discriminate against LGBT people.
Rubio went further to defend Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in Indiana, saying he didn’t believe it put LGBT people at risk of discrimination. As a reminder, the vast majority - 70 percent - of Hoosiers, along with over 100 members of the business community disagree with Rubio on that point.
Once again, Rubio is out of step and wrong on the facts. Businesses and the general public rejected Pence’s bill because it would have put LGBT people at risk from being discriminated against and denied service at businesses for religious reasons. HRC’s case study on economic and political fallout after Indiana lawmakers took up that RFRA showed that the public will reject bills with the sole purpose of making discrimination against LGBT people widespread.
Polling conducted by GQR for the Human Rights Campaign found a bipartisan majority of Indiana voters said businesses should serve all customers who can afford to pay equally, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
So for those keeping track, Rubio has now reaffirmed his intent to appoint Supreme Court Justices who would overturn Obergefell v. Hodges, threatened to roll back President Obama’s LGBT non-discrimination protections, bizarrely vowed to never change his position on marriage equality, and voiced his support for anti-LGBT RFRA bills. And that’s just in the past few months.
Though he’s gotten more vocal, Rubio has a long track record of opposing basic equality for LGBT people. He voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, opposed the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and as Slate recently pointed out, opposes adoption by same-sex couples so much, that he’d rather see children suffer than find a loving home. He has also recorded robocalls for the anti-LGBT National Organization for Marriage (NOM), which named him a champion for “real marriage,” and helped raised money for the Florida Family Policy Council, whose leader said that being gay is an “artificial, social construct” that is “dangerous.”
As the caucuses and primaries draw near and Republican Presidential hopefuls move further and further to the right, this type of rhetoric continues to be a sobering reminder of what we could lose with any of these anti-LGBT candidates in the White House. Most of President Obama’s progress on these issues can be rolled back unless we get a champion for LGBT rights elected.
HRC has endorsed Hillary Clinton, who’s made LGBT equality a pillar of her campaign from the very beginning. She recently unveiled the most robust and ambitious LGBT plan any candidate for president has ever laid out, has vowed to fight for the Equality Act, specifically called for dropping the ban on transgender military service, as well as outlawing dangerous “conversion therapy” in minors and much more.
The LGBT vote will play a crucial role in this year’s presidential election, and HRC is already on the ground mobilizing, pro-equality voters in key states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
Get the facts on Rubio’s record on LGBT issues.
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