Marco Rubio is often touted as the future of the Republican party, largely on the basis of being a Latino in a party that has been, to put it mildly, not friendly to people who aren’t white (i.e., the demographic destiny of the U.S.). Based on Rubio’s remarks at an antigay fundraiser over the weekend, the future looks a lot like 1987.
In a 22-minute speech before for Florida Family Policy Council’s annual fundraising dinner, Rubio never once uttered the word “gay.” Of course, he didn’t have to. He used every other dog whistle at his disposal to signal to the attendees that he was with them.
“We hear about keeping God out of our schools, keeping God out of our politics, keeping God out of other people’s lives,” Rubio said. “This is a ridiculous debate, because God is everywhere at every time.”
Moreover, Rubio’s presence sanctified the homophobia on display. The Florida Family Policy Council led the anti-marriage equality campaign in Florida, and its president John Stemberger has been on a tear condemning the Boy Scouts for allowing gay troop members. The Council is also a big proponent of ex-gay therapy.
The fundraiser honored Matthew Staver, head of Liberty Counsel, a religious right legal group that has opposed California’s ban on ex-gay therapy, participated in a challenge to New York’s marriage equality law, and has served as legal counsel to a woman who illegally fled the country with her daughter after her ex-partner won custody rights.
And if that wasn’t enough anti-gay hate, both before and after Rubio’s speech videos played touting all the wonderfully homophobic things the Council has done.
Rubio may think that he gets a free pass by not overtly bashing gays in his comments. He ought to know better. By going out of his way to raise money for the Council he is affirmatively enabling its attacks on the LGBT community and perpetuating the extremism that is ripping apart the GOP. Rubio is looking to build his base for his expected presidential campaign, but given how fast the country is accepting LGBT issues, he’s playing to an increasingly small part of the electorate.
Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas. Somebody better start filling an extra large order of Advantage for Rubio.