Shortly after 49 people — most of them LGBTQ and Hispanic — were shot to death inside an Orlando nightclub, Marco Rubio announced he was “deeply impacted” by the massacre and might now run for re-election to the U.S. Senate.
Rubio repeatedly said during his failed bid to become president earlier this year that he had no intention of staying in the Senate, even if he didn’t win the GOP nomination. And throughout the campaign, he stood by political positions deemed anti-LGBTQ by much of the mainstream gay community.
As Rubio decides whether to run for re-election, HRC, the nation’s largest LGBTQ political group, offered the Herald a blistering commentary on the senator’s career in Washington.
“The timing of his consideration is just, frankly, painful,” HRC communications director Jay Brown told the Miami Herald on Tuesday. “To be using the tragedy in Orlando as a time to reflect on his Senate career, when his career and his promises on the campaign trail have been anti-LGBTQ consistently, it’s just staggering to think he would be using this moment for his own personal ambitions.”
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Here’s the complete HRC news release:
WASHINGTON – Today, the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQ civil rights organization in the United States, responded to news reports that Marco Rubio is considering running for another term despite refusing to stand up for LGBTQ Floridians during his last six years in the U.S. Senate. Rubio, has time and again put politics above the rights of LGBTQ people, despite Florida being home to one of the most vibrant LGBTQ communities in the nation. Moreover, as a presidential candidate, Rubio doubled down on his anti-LGBTQ policy positions and ramped up his discriminatory rhetoric, throwing red meat to conservative religious leaders and talk shows instead of standing up to hate. Despite his long history of voting against the interests of LGBTQ Floridians, Rubio has astonishingly suggested that the attack on Pulse nightclub was an impetus for considering another run for the Senate.
“Shameful is the only word that can be used to describe Marco Rubio considering — at this moment — a run for Senate after he's promised to roll back all the gains LGBTQ people have made,” said HRC JoDee Winterhof, HRC Senior Vice President of Policy and Political Affairs. “From his votes to his rhetoric, Marco Rubio has never been an ally to LGBTQ people. To be clear, it’s because of lawmakers like Rubio that Floridians remain at risk for being fired or denied a job because of who they are or whom they love.”
Polling released by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute found Marco Rubio massively out of step with Floridians on LGBTQ issues. A 53 percent majority of Floridians support marriage equality, while a 70 percent majority support LGBTQ non-discrimination protections, which Florida lacks.
Among Rubio’s anti-LGBTQ positions during the presidential campaign:
▪ On marriage equality: Marco Rubio was an early opponent of the United States Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality, saying that would appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn it. He sought to turn back the clock on nationwide marriage equality throughout the campaign and notoriously told a same-sex couple in New Hampshire that marriage should be between “one man and one woman.” Rubio went on to bizarrely tell the couple they should have the law changed by their state legislature, even though New Hampshire enacted civil unions through the legislative process in 2007, and legalized marriage equality by the same process in 2009.
▪ On transgender rights: Rubio opposed allowing transgender students to use facilities that correspond to their gender identity. Rubio also vowed to repeal all of President Obama’s executive orders, including the LGBTQ federal contractor order that protects LGBTQ workers. Previously, Rubio voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, maintaining a status quo where millions of LGBTQ Americans remain at risk for being fired or denied a job because of who they are or who they love.
▪ On Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis: Marco Rubio vowed to sign the so-called “First Amendment Defense Act” as president, a bill which would bring Kim Davis-style discrimination to the federal government.
▪ On Mike Pence: As recently as this year, Marco Rubio defended the Indiana governor, who attempted to write discrimination into state law and allow businesses to discriminate and deny service to someone just because of who they are or whom they love.
▪ On his anti-LGBTQ endorsements: Rubio was endorsed by both Rick Santorum and the CEO of Hobby Lobby, the leader behind a court case that set a troubling precedent that could have profound impacts on access to appropriate healthcare for the LGBTQ community.