November 14, 2013 - Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has intensified his desperate pandering to the dwindling ranks of anti-gay extremists. This weekend, Rubio will deliver the keynote address at the Florida Family Policy Council’s (FFPC) dinner, honoring notorious anti-gay activist Mat Staver who has called gay rights an “iceberg” that will destroy America.
Rubio has faced sustained national criticism for blocking the nomination of a black, gay federal judicial nominee. That criticism grew when Rubio announced opposition to a national nondiscrimination bill that passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support. Polls show strong and growing majorities support equal rights protections that prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, said Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida.
“The junior senator from Florida is now shockingly out of touch with the majority of voters in Floridians and across the country,” said Smith. “Since getting his hand slapped by the far right for even suggesting improvements to immigration laws, Rubio has been too busy polishing his extreme right credentials to notice that people are offended by these attacks on fairness and equality.”
Rubio will be honoring Staver, the founder and chairman of the Liberty Council, a staunchly conservative organization dedicated to promoting anti-gay and anti-choice policies. Staver runs the Liberty Council law school where students have accused him of advocating that they ignore the actual law in favor of “biblical law.” He has argued that including gay people in history lessons is a sexual assault on students. He has also alleged that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) will lead to child molestation and sexual assaults.
Rubio’s support of the Florida Family Policy Council and his praise for Staver are just the latest example of his growing lurch to the far right. He voted against an immigration reform bill that he had championed, stating “If this bill has something in it that gives gay couples immigration rights and so forth, it kills the bill. I'm done.”
Rubio is also keeping company with John Stemberger, the Florida Family Policy Council's president, who recently told conservative radio host Janet Mefferd, "We're not going to tolerate somebody who's, you know, here and queer, loud and proud, all of that nonsense.”
Equality Florida is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. www.eqfl.org