U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, Tea Party Republican of Florida, must really, really hate gay people. Why else would he, in the space of 24 hours, in two separate interviews, threaten to vote against the immigration reform bill that he co-authored if it includes an amendment that merely treats same-sex binational legally married couples the same as opposite-sex binational legally married couples, and then, hours later, announce that he will vote against ENDA because, as he told a reporter, "I’m not for any special protections based on orientation." Speaking about the immigration reform bill yesterday, Rubio told Fox News pundit Andrea Tantaros on her radio show, "If this bill has something in it that gives gay couples immigration rights and so forth, it kills the bill. I'm done." Just hours later, Rubio spoke at evangelical-political leader Ralph Reed‘s “Road to Majority” conference, and Think Progress reporter Scott Keyes asked him about ENDA.
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 and Adam Peck noted in their report:
Workplace discrimination is an all-too-frequent reality for LGBT individuals. Two out of every five openly lesbian, gay, or bisexual employees have reported discrimination at their jobs. Among transgender workers, that figure rises to nine out of ten. Currently, 29 states have no laws protecting gay and lesbian workers from discrimination in the workplace, and an additional five states don’t protect workers based on gender identity. And yet nine in ten Americans mistakenly believe that it is illegal to fire someone for being gay. LGBT workers aren’t asking for “special protections,” as Rubio would have people believe. They’re asking to be treated like everyone else and be allowed to do their job without fear of being harassed or fired for who they are.Rubio's presence at Reed's “Road to Majority” conference, which includes anti-gay notables like NOM President Brian Brown -- itself is troubling. Reed, who was disgraced and forced to leave as the first executive director of Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition amid allegations of violations of federal campaign finance laws. But worse, a reported 500 attendees from yesterday's conference flooded Capitol Hill to demand lawmakers pass a replacement bill for DOMA, which even the anti-gay Christian group believes will be struck down by the Supreme Court. Rubio, who is 44 and a Roman Catholic, also voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, which included new protections for LGBT people, and he is on record s supporting a federal amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would permanently ban same-sex couples from marrying. Rubio would have voted against repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," in 2010 but wasn't a member of the Senate when it was repealed. His spokesperson did say Rubio "supports the current policy and doesn’t see any reason for it to change." That perhaps should have been unsurprising. Earlier that year Rubio received a glowing endorsement from hate group leader Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. Not only did Rubio get an endorsement from Perkins, Rubio "boasted the endorsement of anti-gay hate groups like the Family Research Council and during the election recorded robocalls for the National Organization of Marriage urging Americans to deny equal rights to gays and lesbians," Igor Volsky at Think Progress reported earlier this year. And in April 2006, the state of Florida "was being criticized for its inability to place foster children with families, a problem that had become so acute that some foster kids were forced to sleep in a state conference room," OnTheIssues reports. Rubio, who was serving in the Florida House, "dismissed expanding the program to include gay couples who wanted to take in children. 'Some of these kids are the most disadvantaged in the state,' Rubio said. 'They shouldn't be forced to be part of a social experiment.'" Image via Facebook: "Meet Marco at CPAC and get VIP seating for his speech"