Marco Rubio Should Be on Your Political Radar
Not since Anita Bryant successfully convicted gays in a trial-by-fire in the court of public opinion over 35 years ago has someone worked so hard to oppress gays in the state of Florida like Senator Marco Rubio has this year. Hailed as a "Tea Party darling" and one of the few youthful leaders in today's Republican Party, Rubio has gone the extra mile to show Florida and the nation that his "family values" platform will throw gays under the bus at any opportunity, whether it be today's marriage debate, immigration, or even employment.
Last month was not a good month for Senator Rubio (as if any month is particularly promising in terms of his relationship with the LGBT community) as he made headlines not once, not twice, but three different times as he revealed, bit by bit, his less-than-cordial feelings toward the gay population.
Considering Florida boasts the second-highest percentage of LGBT people out of any other state, and a senator's job is to represent ALL of his or her constituents, you'd think Marco Rubio might consider the power of the gay vote...if he doesn't truly respect us as people, at least he can understand our power at the voting booth and that we're one block closer to his re-election in 2016. But no, his recent remarks have let us know that not only does he think he can do without us, but that he expressly does not WANT our votes. In Marco Rubio's Florida, he'd rather we not exist. And he'll make sure that result can occur by any means possible.
For example, he vowed to walk away from supporting immigration legislation in Congress if gay politics 3bi-national couples were allowed to reap the benefits. Those evil pesky gays, wanting their full rights as married couples, how dare they! He was willing to kill the entire bill, leaving millions of people, gay, straight, or otherwise, out in the cold. (Luckily the Supreme Court striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act rendered his temper tantrum absolutely moot.)
Speaking of the Supreme Court's decision regarding DOMA, as well as Prop 8, Rubio wasn't too happy about that one either. Why would he be? One of his political bargaining chips was taken away in a very well-deserved smack down. He accused the justices making the ruling of "second-guessing the will of the people" while at the same time tut-tutting about the "serious mistake" they made. Rich words, considering Rubio wasn't on the right side of the immigration debate and, while Florida did pass Amendment 2 in 2008, he isn't even on the right side of public opinion today on the marriage equality issue. Florida lurched past 50% support for marriage equality in 2012, and is zeroing in on the 60% needed to hopefully overturn the Amendment at the ballot box as soon as November 2014.
If you've read the past positions and considered them simply outdated, his opinion on employment will make your jaw drop so far down you'll have to pick it up from 1964. At a Faith and Freedom Forum (gotta love those Tea Party events), he said he was not supporting the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, as he believed no special protections were needed based on orientation. But then he says he believes all Americans should be protected. Which is it? In Florida it's lucky that I work for a gay magazine because nearly anywhere else, I can be fired for my sexuality, as can many of you reading this piece. So and so can't be fired for being white, or being female, or holding certain political views, but just for being who we are and living our lives openly and honestly, we can get canned from work. Oh, and Rubio made sure to clarify that he isn't a bigot. I believe that like I believe in the tooth fairy.
Want to play hardball with our lives? Two can play that game. We'll make sure we're heard at the ballot box and you can walk away from Congress a one-term Senator. Don't pass go and collect your $200 in Tallahassee, either; we don't want you speaking for us EVER again. Not as if you ever tried to begin with.