Senator, “I know Gay people,” Rubio this week made it clear that his care for the LGBTQ+ folks he knows only extends to their economic well-being when he dismissed the need to protect their rights as a “stupid waste of time.”
Concerns about federal protection of same-sex marriage arose after Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a concurring opinion when the Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Thomas wrote that “In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell. Because any substantive due process decision is ‘demonstrably erroneous,’ we have a duty to ‘correct the error’ established in those precedents.” Obergefell v. Hodges, was the case that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.
If the Supreme Court were to overturn Obergefell v. Hodges, it would have the same result as the recent reversal of Roe v. Wade, leaving it up to states to determine whether same-sex marriages are legal.
Congress steps up to respect marriage
As a result of the Thomas concurring opinion, this week the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Respect for Marriage Act, which would both repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and provide protections for both same-sex and interracial couples. The legislation passed with uncharacteristic bipartisan support when 47 House Republicans voted to pass the bill.
So naturally, all eyes turned to the Senate, where 10 Republicans would need to support the legislation to avert a filibuster. The number appears attainable, as multiple Republican senators have expressed support for the legislation.
Enter Senator “I know Gay people” Rubio who said, “That bill’s not important. It’s a waste of our time on a non issue. But I know plenty of gay people in Florida that are pissed off about gas prices.”
Rubio later told CNN’s Manu Raju, that the bill was a “stupid waste of time.”
In 2015 Rubio told Meet the Press that “If you want to change the definition of marriage, then you need to go to state legislatures and get them to change it, because states have always defined marriage. And that’s why some people get married in Las Vegas by an Elvis impersonator.”
It should be noted that Rubio’s opponent in the Senate race, Val Demings, a current sitting member of the House of Representatives, voted for the Respect for Marriage Act.
Demings has sent a clear message to Senator Rubio, America’s 20+ million adult LGBTQ+ community, and Florida’s roughly 900k adult LGBTQ+ residents, that she understands the difference between knowing Gay people vs. caring about them.