Posts Tagged As: Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio Announced As Featured Speaker At Anti-Gay Event In Orlando

Jim Burroway

July 27th, 2016

Marco RubioLiberty Counsel Action, the political action arm of the Liberty Counsel, and the Florida Renewal Project, an affiliate of the American Renewal Project, have announced that Sen. Marco Rubio will be speaking at its “Rediscovering God In America Renewal Project“on August 11 and 12 in Orlando. The conference will take place exactly two months after the Pulse gay night club massacre in which 49 people were killed and 53 injured. According to Right Wing Watch, Rubio will be speaking alongside anti-gay extremists like Mat Staver, David Barton, Bill Federer, David Lane, and Maine pastor Ken Graves.

Last week, Rubio was confronted by angry protesters when he made a media appearance just a short walk down the street from the now-shuttered Pulse night club. Protesters were angered by Rubio’s statement in which he said he was “honored to receive John Stemberger’s endorsement.” John Stemberger is Florida’s leading and best-known anti-LGBT activist as head of Florida Family Action. Rubio will now be sharing the platform with some of the country’s more extremist anti-gay activists. Here’s a brief refresher:

  • Mat Staver: He is head of the Liberty Counsel and Liberty Counsel Action. Liberty Counsel defended Kentucky clerk Kim Davis’s refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. When Staver was dean of Liberty University’s law school, he taught his law students that they should counsel their clients to break the law in favor of “God’s Law.” And according to a RICO lawsuit connecting his law school to the Miller-Jenkins kidnapping case, his law school apparently practices what he taught. Last month, he denounced Orlando area churches for participating in “homosexual love feasts” by offering prayer services and open channels of prayer, and dialogue with the grieving community.
  • David Barton: He is a Texas-based fake historian who has said that God was preventing the medical profession from finding a cure for AIDS because it was “the penalty due them.” He has also repeated the false claim that gay people die decades earlier than straight people. In 2011 when Democrats still held the majority in the Senate, Baron claimed that prayers from the Senate side of the U.S. Capital can’t get through to God because “they get delayed twenty-one days because the principalities are up there fighting in the Heavenlies.”
  • David Lane: I haven’t been following him, except for this post where he organized a trip to Israel for sixty Republican Party leaders which was paid for by the American Family Association. Right Wing Watch has this rundown, which included his 2013 statement that we would see “car bombs in Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Des Moines, Iowa,” because of “homosexuals praying at the Inauguration.”

Protesters Confront Rubio In Orlando

Jim Burroway

July 20th, 2016

rubioThings got ugly in a city where nerves are still very raw. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was in Orlando at a press event just blocks away from the site of the Pulse gay night club massacre which killed 49 and injured 53 a little over a month ago. The framing of Rubio’s visit probably didn’t help any. According to the Orlando Sentinel, it was “focused on how Rubio was trying to help businesses affected by slow traffic around the mass shooting scene.” It’s a legitimate concern. Those businesses are struggling and some have had to lay off employees. But given Rubio’s anti-gay record, it was very unrealistic for Rubio to expect a warm reception that close to Pulse and this close in time to the massacre:

Instead, about 30 protesters shouted so loudly outside that Rubio could hardly be heard at some points. The goal of the protest was to highlight Rubio’s lack of support for such things as gun control measures.

“I’m really angry at you,” Moran said. “I don’t feel you’re doing anything to support the LGBTQ people. I need to know what is your relationship is with the NRA. Why are you talking with transphobes and homophobes like John Stemberger… all of you have blood on your hands,” Moran said.

Rubio responded, “I disagree with your assessment… Homophobia means you’re scared of people, I’m not scared of people. Quite frankly I respect all people. We probably have a disagreement on the definition of marriage.”

Moran interrupted again, “Your policies kill people. Your policies enable people to be murdered. You have to protect us. You’re not protecting us. We’re going to be gunned down.”

John Stemberger and Marco Rubio

John Stemberger and Marco Rubio

John Stemberger is Florida’s leading and best-known anti-LGBT activist as head of Florida Family Action. Stemberger recently endorsed Rubio’s re-entry into the race to retain his Senate seat. Rubio responded with a Facebook post saying, “I’m honored to receive John Stemberger’s endorsement and I look forward to working alongside Florida’s faith leaders to uphold our conservative values.”

The Sentinel has video of the confrontation.

They Can’t Even Say Who Was Attacked

Jim Burroway

June 13th, 2016

They can’t even say our names. But they are perfectly happy to appropriate what happened to us.

“The nation’s prayers are with the victims and their families in the wake of this terrible tragedy. We thank the citizens and first responders who helped rescue and save lives amidst horror and chaos. We will continue to monitor developments from local law enforcement and the FBI to determine the exact nature of this crime and whether it was connected to international terrorist groups.”

— Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

It is horrifying to see so many innocent lives cut short by such cowardice. Tonight, and in the long days ahead, we will grieve with the families. We will thank the heroes. We will hope for a swift recovery for the injured.

As we heal, we need to be clear-eyed about who did this. We are a nation at war with Islamist terrorists. Theirs is a regressive hateful ideology that respects no borders. It is a threat to our people at home and abroad. Our security depends on our refusal to back down in the face of terror. We never will.

— House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI)

“This is a horrific day for America. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the victims, survivors, and those touched by this terrible tragedy. I fear this will prove to be system failure. Congress should immediately restore the budgets for our intelligence and law enforcement communities which have been suffering. My goal is to prevent future terrorist attacks, not simply respond to them. We are fighting a war against radical Islam and a hateful ideology, not a crime.”

— Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC)

To be fair, some Republicans are naming the victims directly as members of the LGBT community. (Sen. Marco Rubio,for example, has named the LGBT verbally on TV, but his official statement erases our existence.) But others treat the LGBT community as the people who they “dare not speak its name.”

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has got to be one of the worst offenders of this. He has been in front of every television camera in Orlando and his office has issued an avalanche of press releases — and one Executive order — without uttering even once the who the victims actually were. In this release, it was “an attack on our people… an attack on all of us.” In this one, it was “an attack on our state and entire nation.”

It’s true that it was an attack on “our state and nation,” if you mean that in a sort of an-attack-on-the-LGBT-community-is-an-attack-on-all-of-us kind of way. But if he meant it as a statement of solidarity, it should be pretty easy to do so. “The shooter targeted a nightclub where people came together to be with friends, to dance and to sing, and to live… “So this is a sobering reminder that attacks on any American — regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation — is an attack on all of us.” Obama said that, and it’s pretty clear the “all of us” line is one of solidarity.

But if it’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that when someone doesn’t want to speak clearly, then watch out. When they need to reach for euphemisms and jingoisms instead of speaking plainly, then you can bet that their intention has nothing to do with any sort of solidarity with the gay community.

And so let’s just be clear, in in case anyone is confused about what Omar Mateen did. He did not attack “all of us.” He attacked some of us. Some particular of us. He didn’t go to Disney, Universal, or to Orlando’s tourist strip packed with restaurants and nightclubs where all of us go. He didn’t go to a shopping mall or a sporting event where all of us go. No, he picked a partucalr night club where some of us go — a gay night club. A night club that was tucked away from the crowds of all of us, and to a particular crowd of some of us. A crowd that Mateen sought but too many political leaders find it uncomfortable to name.

Early Reactions

Jim Burroway

June 12th, 2016

From CNN:

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of the victims,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement. “The President asked to receive regular updates as the FBI, and other federal officials, work with the Orlando Police to gather more information, and directed that the federal government provide any assistance necessary to pursue the investigation and support the community.”

Lisa Monaco, Obama’s homeland security and counterterrorism adviser, briefed the President, Earnest said. He said Obama asked for regular updates as federal and state officials investigate the shooting, which killed 50 people and wounded at least 53 others.

Vice President Joe Biden has also been briefed on the shooting and canceled a planned trip to Miami, Florida, to attend a fundraiser for Democratic National Committee chairwoman, Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.

Biden “offered his prayers for all those killed and injured in the shooting and sends his condolences to all the families and loved ones of the victims,” according to a statement from his spokesman.

Other reactions came in via Twitter

By the way, Rick Scott has spent the about five minutes talking about this on TV without mentioning the word “gay” once. Good job Rick!

Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 8.57.35 AM

That last one is from Texas Lt. Gov Dan Patrick, whose account tweeted that out hours after the shooting started. The time stamp at precisely 5:00 a.m. suggests it was a previously scheduled tweet. It has since been deleted in the past half hour (sometime after 10:20 a.m. Central Time)

Gov. Pence Calls For Changes In Indiana’s Right-To-Discriminate Law

Jim Burroway

March 31st, 2015

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This is what Indiana Gov. Mike Spence woke up to this morning: A a rare front-page editorial in the Indianapolis Star demanding that Pence and the state legislature “stop clinging to arguments about whether RFRA really does what critics fear; to stop clinging to ideology or personal preferences; to focus instead on fixing this.” Pence responded to that and other criticisms from business leaders around the country with a news conference today in which he 1) blamed his critics for spreading ” misunderstanding and confusion and mischaracterization” (while spreading a different kind of misunderstanding and mischaracterization himself; more on that in a moment), and 2) called for the legislature to implement unspecified “clarifications” to the law.

What those clarifications might be is anyone’s guess, and caution is in order. After all, the devil is always in the details, as Pence well knows as he mischaracterizes the very law he signed last Thursday. In this morning’s news conference, Pence doubled down on the claim that the law was nothing more than a state law mirroring the federal RFRA signed by President Clinton in 1993. Of course, the law’s supporters have already revealed the differences, as Rob Tisinai pointed out yesterday. Today, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who is likely to become the next Senate Minority Leader, and who co-wrote the federal RFRA with Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), blasted Pence’s mischaracterization on Facebook:

In the uproar over the recently passed Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), defenders of the bill like Indiana Gov. Pence are trying to hide behind the argument that the law “simply mirrors” the federal RFRA Sen. Ted Kennedy wrote and I introduced as a Congressman in 1993. That may be true only if you’re using a Funhouse mirror. In reality, it is completely false, and a disingenuous argument to boot; they should cease and desist immediately comparing the federal RFRA of 1993 to their present, misguided law.

There are two simple reasons the comparison does not hold water.

First, the federal RFRA was written narrowly to protect individuals’ religious freedom from government interference unless the government or state had a compelling interest. If ever there was a compelling state interest, it is to prevent discrimination. The federal law was not contemplated to, has never been, and could never be used to justify discrimination against gays and lesbians, in the name of religious freedom or anything else.

Second, the federal RFRA was written to protect individuals’ interests from government interference, but the Indiana RFRA protects private companies and corporations. When a person or company enters the marketplace, they are doing so voluntarily, and the federal RFRA was never intended to apply to them as it would to private individuals.

Because of these significant, legal differences, the Indiana RFRA in no way resembles the intent or application of the federal RFRA. As the signer of the bill, Governor Pence should put a stop to it immediately.

Garrett Epps at the Atlantic describes a key event which led Indiana to add private companies and corporations in its law:

The new Indiana statute also contains this odd language: “A person whose exercise of religion has been substantially burdened, or is likely to be substantially burdened, by a violation of this chapter may assert the violation or impending violation as a claim or defense in a judicial or administrative proceeding, regardless of whether the state or any other governmental entity is a party to the proceeding.” (My italics.) Neither the federal RFRA, nor 18 of the 19 state statutes cited by the Post, says anything like this; only the Texas RFRA, passed in 1999, contains similar language.

What these words mean is, first, that the Indiana statute explicitly recognizes that a for-profit corporation has “free exercise” rights matching those of individuals or churches. A lot of legal thinkers thought that idea was outlandish until last year’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Storesin which the Court’s five conservatives interpreted the federal RFRA to give some corporate employers a religious veto over their employees’ statutory right to contraceptive coverage.

Second, the Indiana statute explicitly makes a business’s “free exercise” right a defense against a private lawsuit by another person, rather than simply against actions brought by government. Why does this matter? Well, there’s a lot of evidence that the new wave of “religious freedom” legislation was impelled, at least in part, by a panic over a New Mexico state-court decision, Elane Photography v. WillockIn that case, a same-sex couple sued a professional photography studio that refused to photograph the couple’s wedding. New Mexico law bars discrimination in “public accommodations” on the basis of sexual orientation. The studio said that New Mexico’s RFRA nonetheless barred the suit; but the state’s Supreme Court held that the RFRA did not apply “because the government is not a party.”

Remarkably enough, soon after, language found its way into the Indiana statute to make sure that no Indiana court could ever make a similar decision.  Democrats also offered the Republican legislative majority a chance to amend the new act to say that it did not permit businesses to discriminate; they voted that amendment down.

Pence nevertheless held firm in this morning’s news conference that the problem wasn’t with the law itself, but with “perception”:

But the governor, clearly exasperated and sighing audibly in response to questions, seemed concerned mostly with defending the law and the intent behind it, saying, “We’ve got a perception problem,” not one of substance. He referred to “gross mischaracterizations,” “reckless reporting by some in the media,” “completely false and baseless” accounts of the law, and “the smear that’s been leveled against this law and against the people of Indiana.”

“If this law had been about discrimination, I would have vetoed it,” he said. “I don’t believe for a minute that it was the intention of the General Assembly to create a license to discriminate, or a right to deny services to gays, lesbians or anyone else in this state, and that was not my intent, but I appreciate that that’s become the perception.”

Pence blames “reckless reporting,” but that “perception,” as he puts it, is largely attributable to two things: the text of the law itself, and Pence’s refusal four times to answer a straight up yes/no question on Sunday about whether an Indiana business can safely discriminate against a gay customer under the new law. And if he didn’t think it was about discrimination, then he didn’t pay much attention to the debate in the state legislature leading up to the votes, nor did he happen to notice those who stood behind him as his signed the bill into law. The Governor’s office refused to identify the people attending the private signing ceremony, but GLAAD did some of that work for them.

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Click to enlarge.

But when you get past his self-serving complaints today, Pence has appeared to have backed down. The Washington Post’s Paul Waldman calls that a “significant victory” for gay Hoosiers:

But the pressure Pence got from people both within Indiana and around the country has essentially forced him to be true to his word. Up until now, Pence has been saying that the law was not intended to give businesses in Indiana the right to discriminate against gay people. Now he’s saying that he wants to put that explicitly within the law itself. That’s a huge win for gay people who don’t want to be discriminated against, and makes it more likely that the next state that passes a law like this one — and there are similar bills pending in multiple states — will include a similar clarification.

Not only that, Pence went so far as to say, “No one should be harassed or mistreated because of who they are, who they love or what they believe. I believe it with all my heart.” The “who they love” part is not the kind of language one usually hears about LGBT people from Republicans, particularly those as conservative as Pence.

For me though, the devil will still be in the details. It’s unclear how Pence and the GOP-controlled legislature will “fix this thing” while holding to their vow not to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s anti-discrimination laws. When asked about that this morning, Pence replied, “I’ve never supported that, and I want to be clear, it’s not on my agenda. I think it’s a completely separate question.”

Despite (or perhaps, because of) the controversy, Pence enjoys powerful support within the Republican party. A rash of potential (and one declared) presidential candidates have already strongly defended Indiana’s RFRA in its current form, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

DOMA Splits GOP Leadership and Rank-And-File

Jim Burroway

June 26th, 2013

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued this brief statement after the DOMA decision was announced:

Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis and President Clinton signed it into law.  The House intervened in this case because the constitutionality of a law should be judged by the Court, not by the president unilaterally.  While I am obviously disappointed in the ruling, it is always critical that we protect our system of checks and balances.  A robust national debate over marriage will continue in the public square, and it is my hope that states will define marriage as the union between one man and one woman

As BTB’s Timothy Kincaid pointed out, many are seeing his statement and others from Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell (R_KY) as a sign that Republican leadership isn’t eager to take up opposition to marriage equality in the nation’s Capital. They can see the tea leaves as well as anyone. Well, almost anyone. One rank and file Congressman looked at Boehner’s statement and saw things differently:

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), speaking at a Tuesday meeting between reporters and conservative lawmakers, said he will file a constituional amendment in Congress late this week to restore DOMA. Huelskamp said he will be joined by other conservatives.

“My response to this [decision] will be later this week to file a federal marriage amendment,” he said.

When asked if leadership is likely to support efforts to restore DOMA, Huelskamp said he was encouraged by the Boehner’s statement after the ruling. “I give tremendous credit to the Speaker of House,” Huelskamp said.

Whatever Huelskamp may think he saw in Boehner’s statement, I think it’s safe to say however that DOMA’s revival will be DOA as soon as it hits the House floor.

Meanwhile, Florida Senator and possible 2016 presidential contender Marco Rubio strikes a different tone:

I believe the Supreme Court made a serious mistake today when it overstepped its important, but limited role.  I do not believe that President Clinton and overwhelming bipartisan majorities of both houses of Congress acted with malice or intent to ‘demean’ a class of people when they adopted a uniform definition of marriage for the purposes of federal law.  The Court should not have second guessed the will of the American people acting through their elected representatives without firm constitutional justifications.  The sweeping language of today’s majority opinion is more troubling than the ruling itself as it points to further interference by the Court in the years to come.

For millions of Americans, the definition of marriage is not an abstract political question, or some remote legal debate.  It’s a deeply personal issue. It’s an issue that I have grappled with as well.

I believe that marriage is a unique historical institution best defined as the union between one man and one woman. In the U.S., marriage has traditionally been defined by state law, and I believe each state, acting through their elected representatives or the ballot, should decide their own definition of marriage. For the purposes of federal law, however, Congress had every right to adopt a uniform definition and I regret that the Supreme Court would interfere with that determination.

Rubio: “I’m Done” If Gays Included In Immigration Bill

Jim Burroway

June 13th, 2013

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), one of the so-called “gang of eight” Senators who crafted the bipartisan immigration bill in the Senate has said that he will withdraw his support for the bill if an amendment is approved that would allow gay people to sponsor their foreign spouses for residency.

“If this bill has in it something that gives gay couples immigration rights and so forth, it kills the bill. I’m done,” Rubio said Thursday 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.”

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced an amendment which would allow foreign spouses of gay Americans to obtain green cards. He had originally introduced the measure last month during mark-up hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, but withdrew it under pressure from both Democrats and Republicans when GOP lawmakers vowed to kill it if the amendment were approved. Some lawmakers are pinning their hopes on the Supreme Court, which is expected to issue its ruling in the next couples of weeks on the constitutionality of section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing marriages of same-sex couples.

Rubio Records Robocall for NOM

Jim Burroway

November 2nd, 2012

GOP Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who has been identified as a rising star in national politics, is making robocalls on behalf of the National Organization for Marriage to voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington state, where marriage equality is on the ballot (Minnesota, which is considering a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, prohibits robocalls.) And in a sign that marriage is still seen as a wedge issue, those calls are also going out to the swing states of Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Also making calls for NOM are former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Focus on the Family co-founder James Dobson.

    

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