The headline read,
“Marco Rubio comes to the defense of gay men in Chechnya in a fiery speech”.
Like many people, I would assume, this was not only quite surprising, but very brave on his part as he had said on the senate floor,
‘We should never, ever tolerate human rights violations against any person for their political views, their religious beliefs, or their sexual orientation.’
He was speaking about Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov and that republic’s heinous acts against gay and bisexual men.
He went on to say,
“Unfortunately this is not a new reality for those living under the brutal tyranny of the Chechen leader, who, by the way, happens to be a loyal ally of Vladimir Putin. There have been reports in the past of similar abuses.
Even The United States and other responsible nations should do more to ensure that all people are protected, and those who harm them are held responsible. We should use our voice on the global stage to call attention to these horrifying acts and to ensure that they are condemned in an appropriate way and ultimately in the hopes that they will be stopped.”
In his RNC acceptance speech Donald Trump had said he would protect GLBT people from harmful foreign ideologies.
On face value, both these men appear to be making supportive statements about GLBT Americans, but condemning a foreign country for its abuse of GLBT people is a bit convenient though.
Chechnya is 7011 miles from the West Coast of the United States and 5539 from the East.
The distance from the floor of the Senate to Dupont Circle in Washington DC is 3.5 miles.
Marco Rubio is from Miami, Florida, and South Beach is less than 10 miles away from downtown, while Orlando, where the Pulse Nightclub is, is about 236 miles away.
In short, he lives close to Gay people.
And what is his record on those who live close to him?
Rubio has consistently opposed marriage equality mainly on religious grounds based on one specific religion, and he thanked Speaker John Boehner for spending taxpayer dollars to protect the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
“I want to thank Speaker Boehner and the House Republican leadership for taking action to defend this critical law that was enacted by a bipartisan majority in Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton. It is unfortunate that President Obama decided to no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act. While much of the debate in Washington is focused on creating jobs and growing our economy, we should not sit by while this administration makes profound and regrettable decisions based more upon the politics of the day than the words of our Founding Fathers. This law protects one of our most sacred institutions and because of the House’s actions today, it will be defended.”
While running for president Rubio said that the most important thing the president could do would be to appoint a Supreme Court justice who will overturn marriage equality, and he opposed making sexual orientation a protected class under civil rights laws.
“It is the current law. I don’t believe any case law is settled law. Any future Supreme Court can change it. And ultimately, I will appoint Supreme Court justices that will interpret the Constitution as originally constructed.”
Rubio voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) which would have given GLBT Americans explicit protection from discrimination in the workplace.
When it comes to GLBT protections against discrimination he has said,
“By and large I think all Americans should be protected, but I’m not for any special protections based on orientation.”
How is Gay people having the same job protection as other employees “special”?
Rubio’s office said he
“opposed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act because it goes far ‘beyond protecting workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation.”
When Rubio attended a policy awards dinner for the Florida Family Policy Council, he threw his support behind the group’s “Ignite an Enduring Cultural Transformation” campaign whose goal is to raise large amounts of cash for “groups that intend to pass anti-gay marriage amendments, curtail abortion rights ,and ban ‘transgender bathrooms’”.
The head of the Florida Family Policy Council, the group that Rubio supports, John Stemberger, has made these dismissive statements at various times.
“There is no significant history or problem or issue with discrimination based upon sexuality in Orange County [Florida] .To the contrary, this community is very tolerant and even accepting of gay and lesbian neighbors.”
A statement that ignored people’s reality and experience there because theirs wasn’t his.
“If the BSA departs from its policies on allowing openly homosexual scoutmasters and boys in the program it could destroy the legitimacy and the security of this iconic institution. I pray that the BSA does not open a can of worms that would cause a mass exodus from a program that America needs now more than ever.”
“It’s really important that we distinguish between a mere same-sex attraction, which by the way 20-25 percent of young boys as they are growing up will experience some sort of gender ambiguity or confusion, or just needing to wonder who they are, needing affirmation, that’s not uncommon at all. But what’s horrible is to have the society and schools and even parents, which is tantamount to abuse in my judgment, saying ‘oh he is special, he must be gay, he must be gender confused, let’s let him explore.’ That is just absolutely nonsense and it’s an abuse to the child. We need to be reaffirming that child of their God-given biology that they are special, made in His image, and help them understand these things. So we’re not going to turn away a kid like that, but we are not going to tolerate activists. We are not going to tolerate someone who is ‘here and queer; loud and proud,’ all of that nonsense, that is completely inappropriate in a program where there’s children.”
Rubio even went so far as to threaten to oppose his own immigration bill if it included provisions for same-sex couples.
“If this bill has in it something that gives gay couples immigration rights and so forth, it kills the bill. I’m gone. I’m off it.”
. “This immigration bill is difficult enough as it is. If that issue is injected into this bill, this bill will fail. It will not have the support. It will not have my support.”
He not only supports the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), which would allow government employees to discriminate against GLBT people under the guise of “religious liberty”, but was an original cosponsor.
‘We should seek a balance between government’s responsibility to abide by the laws of our republic and allowing people to stand by their religious convictions.”
“Religious liberty is the right to live according to your religious teachings and to have the opportunity to spread it to others, instill it in your children and live it in your everyday life. Those of us of the Christian faith understand we are called to be Christians in every aspect of our lives and we are called to influence the culture around us. In the new American Century, we need a president who understands that protecting religious liberty means understanding the Constitutional principles of the right to exercise your faith in every aspect of your life. If I’m president, we are going to have Supreme Court Justices, who we appoint, that will defend liberty and we’re going to have a Justice Department that will protect ALL Americans from discrimination”.
“There’s no doubt that we need to be extra vigilant now about protecting the religious liberties of Americans and that includes having a justice department that’s vigilant about ensuring that those who hold traditional values are not being discriminated against. That includes reversing any administrative decisions made by this President that force religious, or religious motivated entities. You may not be owned by a church, but you are a religious school, or your mission is to spread the Gospel and adhere to God’s teachings ensure that people in the private sector and the not-for-profit sector are being protected in living out their faith….. Well, the executive orders would be to reverse the executive orders the President has made on things like gender equality in restrooms….These sorts of things you’ve seen in Illinois for example, but also ensure that we’re not doing anything that at any part in our government that is putting organizations that are motivated by their faith or organized around their faith from having to violate the tenants of their faith and that includes government contractors. There are many government contractors and small companies who provide services to the government who are faith-based people, and they are, they are being compelled to sin by government in their business conduct. That is not something we should be supporting.”
Rubio vowed to repeal “every single one” of President Obama’s executive orders especially those that protect GLBT people from discrimination, and he said he would do that on “Day One”.
“On my first day in office, they’re gone.”
“The executive orders would be to reverse the executive orders the president has made on things like gender equality in restrooms. You’ve seen some local districts and others been forced to provide girls access to a boys’ bathroom and so forth. These sorts of things you’ve seen in Illinois for example, but also ensure that we’re not doing anything that at any part in our government that is putting organizations that are motivated by their faith or organized around their faith from having to violate the tenants of their faith and that includes government contractors. There are many government contractors and small companies who provide services to the government who are faith-based people, and they are being compelled to sin by government in their business conduct. That is not something we should be supporting.”
He has also raised money in Florida for a key backer of conversion therapy. Psychologists have condemned Conversion therapy as a form of abuse, and some states, like New Jersey and California, have banned it. The American Psychiatric Association says it is at best ineffective and at worst can “reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient.”
Rubio recorded robocalls for the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), and He has helped raised money for the Florida Family Policy Council, whose leader said being gay is an “artificial, social construct” that is “dangerous.”
He opposes allowing GLBT couples to adopt. He claims that such families are a “Social experiment” to which children should not be subjected. When it came to GLBT people adopting foster kids he said,
“Some of these kids are the most disadvantaged in the state. They shouldn’t be forced to be part of a social experiment.”
When it comes to GLBT people in the United States, he has claimed that those who object to being denied services that are not denied to others are being intolerant of those who deny them.
When it is based on religion, people should simply accept discriminatory treatment.
Chechnya’s treatment of Gay men is based on religion.
In elementary school we were always “ransoming pagan babies”. At least once a month the nuns would collect coins from students that would be given to the missions to provide food and clothing to kids in foreign countries. We never saw any of those kids, not even a picture, but we always felt good that we were helping someone.
It never crossed out little minds that while we were helping someone far away, there was really something wrong when we made fun of the poor kid with the horrible lunch from home who might have really appreciated the apple or Hostess Cupcake we had no problem throwing way because our brown bag lunch was just too much.
We watched the occasional 16mm film where we saw the squalid living conditions of the children in Africa and cringed at the way they were being treated by the colonists, but many of us had no problem making fun of or verbally abusing Walter Corey because he lived in the poor section of town and was charcoal black.
It looks good that Marco Rubio is so concerned for Gay people thousands of miles away, but it would be more impressive if he was not so quick to want to keep Gay people at home from having their full rights as citizens, allow them to be subjected to discrimination in the name of religion, or wasn’t so glib in reducing GLBT people to mere “issues” and their families to “social experiments”.
Charity begins at home, “Little Marco”.