Speaking at Catholic University this afternoon, Tea Party Republican Senator Marco Rubio attacked supporters of same-sex marriage as "intolerant."
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio was once heralded as the next Republican presidential candidate -- one who could win. That was until the story he had told began to unravel -- no, his parents did not flee Cuba because of Castro, no, he did not live in a modest working-class neighborhood -- and his devastating position position supporting immigration reform enabled his former supported in the Tea Party to denounce him. Rubio's embarrassing response to President Barack Obama's 2013 State of the Union Address was labeled as "sweaty and dry-mouthed," after his "taking an awkward swig from a bottle of water that had been placed off-camera."
But it's Rubio's beliefs and policies, embedded in his strong Catholic faith, that are the real problem.
Take his comments today, during a speech he delivered at Catholic University (CUA) this afternoon in Washington, D.C., where he appeared on stage with none other than a panel of extreme anti-gay activists, including, according to Religion News Service, Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America; Richard V. Reeves, a fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution; Brad Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project; and Sister Ann Patrick Conrad, associate professor of social work at CUA.
Nance's CWA is as close to an anti-gay hate group as one can get. Wilcox is largely responsible for advancing the hugely-discredited Regnerus anti-gay "parenting" study.
“I promise you even before this speech is over I’ll be attacked as a hater or a bigot or someone who is anti-gay,” Rubio told the audience. “This intolerance in the name of tolerance is hypocrisy. Support for the definition of marriage as one man and one woman is not anti-gay, it is pro-traditional marriage.”
Of course, that's a fallacy. Excluding same-sex couples from the institution of marriage isn't "pro-traditional marriage" any more than excluding women from voting is "pro-traditional voting."
“Today there is a growing intolerance on this issue, intolerance for those who continue to support traditional marriage,” Rubio told his audience, ignoring the decades, if not centuries of intolerance "those who continue to support traditional marriage" have held for equality advocates and the LGBT community.
“If support for traditional marriage is bigotry, then Barack Obama was a bigot until just before the 2012 election,” he continued -- a false statement. President Obama has always opposed DOMA, and while he said he supported only "traditional marriage," even as a Senator Obama came out against California's top 8, and he has never demonized the LGBT community.
In addressing the issue, Rubio tried to thread the needle between courting 21st century voters while defending his 20th century position on gay marriage. He opened his remarks with an extended condemnation of other forms of discrimination against gays.
“There was once a time when our federal government not only banned the hiring of gay employers, it required contractors to identify and fire them,” Rubio said. “Some laws prohibited gays from being served in bars and restaurants and many cities carried out law enforcement efforts targeting gay Americans.”
Rubio also acknowledged that many gay couples “feel humiliated by the law’s failure to recognize their relationship as a marriage.”
While he said he respected those arguments as well as the rights of states to recognize same sex unions, Rubio argued that “thousands of years of human history have shown that the ideal setting for children to grow up is with a mother and father” and this ideal “deserves to be elevated in our laws.”
“Those who support same sex marriage have a right to lobby their state legislatures to change state laws,” he said. “But Americans who support keeping the traditional definition of marriage also have a right to work to keep the traditional definition of marriage in our laws without seeing that overturned by a judge.”