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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio's earns a 'zero' from gay rights group



Sen. Marco Rubio’s support for LGBT issues declined in recent years, according to scoring by Human Rights Campaign.

The group has released its rankings for the 114th Congress and Rubio scored a zero. That was down from 22 percent in the 113th Congress and 47 percent in the 112th.

Human Rights Campaign based its current report on several issues, including a budget amendment from Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, that would have ensured same-sex couples have access to Social Security and veterans benefits.

Rubio also voted against a failed amendment from Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, that included LGBTQ non-discrimination protections or runaway and homeless youth programs. In a couple instances, Rubio missed votes that group scored.

Rubio’s score was higher the previous year because he voted against an amendment to the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 striking provisions prohibiting discrimination against victims of domestic violence based on sexual orientation as well as eliminating protections relating to Native American and immigrant victims. He voted against a similar amendment the year before.

His opposition to same-sex marriage is well established, but Rubio has used speeches, including one before evangelical leaders in Orlando following the Pulse shootings, to call for tolerance. Rubio’s friend, Carlos Lopez-Cantera, dropped out of the Senate race after those attacks.

“In order to love people you have to listen to them,” Rubio said in August. “You have to understand their perspective, their hope and their dreams and their fears and their pain. When it comes to our brothers and our sisters, our fellow Americans, our neighbors in the LGBT community, we should recognize that our nation, while the greatest nation in the history of mankind, is one whose history has been marred by discrimination against and the rejection of gays and lesbians.”

But that hasn’t satisfied some critics, who say Rubio is painting over policy stances with another nice speech.

Rubio’s campaign declined comment.

“Marco Rubio has not only disappointingly refused to join the majority of fair-minded Floridians who support LGBTQ equality, but even more outrageously, Rubio has moved backwards during his time in the Senate,” said HRC’s Government Affairs Director David Stacy. “Marco Rubio has voted to keep LGBTQ people in fear of being denied a job because of who they are or whom they love. In addition to voting against bipartisan employment protections, Rubio voted against a bipartisan measure to protect LGBTQ students from discrimination in school. No matter how you slice it, Marco Rubio’s anti-LGBTQ voting record is at odds not just with the majority of Floridians but also his fellow Republicans in Florida’s Congressional Delegation.”

The group noted Rubio was below Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (100 percent), Carlos Curbelo (88 percent), Mario Diaz-Balart (64 percent) David Jolly, (64 percent) and Tom Rooney (32 percent).

Rubio’s rival Patrick Murphy had a 100 percent score. Sen. Bill Nelson had a 94.

[Last modified: Tuesday, October 11, 2016 3:48pm]


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