Marco Rubio Veers Right On Gay Issues

After previously taking care to avoid personal positions on several LBGT issues, the Florida senator got personal on same-sex couples’ immigration rights and “special protections” in the workplace.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) addresses the Faith & Freedom Coalition Road to Majority Conference Kickoff Luncheon in Washington June 13, 2013. Gary Cameron / Reuters

WASHINGTON — In a departure from his recent attempts to present a moderate face of the Republican Party on LGBT issues, Sen. Marco Rubio Thursday took aim at same-sex couples’ protections in immigration reform and attempts to pass workplace protections for LGBT people.

On immigration reform, where Sen. Patrick Leahy has filed an amendment that would give same-sex married couples the same immigration rights as opposite-sex married couples, Rubio put his opposition in more personal terms than he previously has expressed.

“If this bill has in it something that gives gay couples immigration rights and so forth, it kills the bill. I’m done,” Rubio was quoted by Yahoo News Thursday as saying during an interview on the Andrea Tantaros Show. “I’m off it, and I’ve said that repeatedly. I don’t think that’s going to happen and it shouldn’t happen. This is already a difficult enough issue as it is.”

Then, Think Progress reported Rubio’s likely opposition to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a bill that would bar most employers from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Asked if he would be supporting the bill, Rubio said, “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.”

At a BuzzFeed event in February, Rubio refused to take a specific position on ENDA and said only that debate over including same-sex couples in immigration reform would “make it harder to get it done.” Rubio also has said he opposes a proposed federal amendment to ban same-sex marriage, saying “that’s an issue that states are deciding.”

Rubio on ENDA:

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Chris Geidner is the legal editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, D.C. In 2014, Geidner won the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association award for journalist of the year.
Contact Chris Geidner at
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