As Marco Rubio Gears up 2016 Presidential Campaign, HRC Highlights His Opposition to LGBT Equality

by Ianthe Metzger

WASHINGTON – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, released a comprehensive research report on potential presidential candidate Marco Rubio that highlights his record opposing LGBT equality.

The research document marks the Human Rights Campaign’s first effort to chronicle where potential 2016 presidential candidates stand on LGBT equality. The document, which will be hosted at, will serve as an online resource for documenting the record and rhetoric of potential 2016 GOP presidential candidates, and where they stand on key LGBT issues. Rubio is among the first tier of candidates to be released by HRC.

 “Marco Rubio has opposed marriage equality, opposed ENDA, and campaigned with some of the most outspoken opponents of marriage equality,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC’s VP for Policy and Political Affairs. “Given his vote against protecting LGBT workers from employment discrimination, Marco Rubio needs to explain whether he’s planning to roll back President Obama’s executive order that protects millions of workers from discrimination.”

Salon recently reported, “President Obama last year exercised his authority as the federal government’s chief executive by issuing an order barring federal agencies and contractors from discriminating against employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity… the executive order applied to 24,000 companies with an estimated 28 million workers, approximately 20 percent of the U.S. labor force….just as Obama wielded his power to ban employment discrimination, his successor could use his or hers to overturn his order.”

Download the full research report here. The website highlights the public statements of candidates on key issues including: positions on marriage equality, support for anti-discrimination bills, positions on dangerous conversion therapy, history of harmful rhetoric and positions on allowing LGBT couples to adopt.  As candidates evolve and expand their positions on LGBT issues, (and as the field changes) this research will be updated to take into account their most recent publicly available statements. Additions, questions and suggestions can be sent to

Highlights on What’s at Stake and Where Rubio Stands:

Overview:  Whether the issue is marriage equality or protecting workers from discrimination, when questions of LGBT equality have come before him, Florida Senator Marco Rubio has consistently opposed giving LGBT Americans equal treatment.  [Citations/Full Research Brief]

On Marriage Equality: Rubio has consistently opposed marriage equality. He’s made a special point to correct press reports that suggest he is open to marriage equality. And he even thanked Speaker John Boehner for spending taxpayer dollars to protect the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  [Citations/Full Research Brief]

On LGBT Discrimination: As a candidate, Rubio said he opposed including sexual under civil rights laws. Despite claiming he opposed discrimination, Rubio voted against ENDA, which would give LGBT Americans explicit protection from discrimination in the workplace. And he threatened to oppose his own immigration bill if it included same-sex couples. [Citations/Full Research Brief]

Conversion Therapy: Rubio has raised money in Florida for a key backer of conversion therapy. [Download Full Research Brief]

HarmfulRhetoric Rubio has recorded robocalls for the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) which named him a “real marriage champion”. He has helped raised money for the Florida Family Policy Council, whose leader said that being gay is an “artificial, social construct” that is “dangerous.” [Download Full Research Brief]

Adoption: Rubio opposes allowing LGBT couples to adopt because children shouldn’t “be part of a social experiment.”  [Download Full Research Brief]

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.


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