In a new interview with David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network featured on Tuesday’s episode of The 700 Club, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) warned that the momentum of marriage equality and other LGBT equality advances pose a threat to religious freedom. Specifically, he worried about the impact of categorizing opposition to LGBT equality as “hate speech.”
“We are at the water’s edge of the argument that mainstream Christian teaching is hate speech,” he explained, “because today we’ve reached the point in our society where if you do not support same-sex marriage, you are labeled a homophobe and a hater. So what’s the next step after that, after they’re done going after individuals? The next step is to argue that the teachings of mainstream Christianity, the catechism of the Catholic Church, is hate speech. That’s a real and present danger.”
Watch it (via Right Wing Watch):
Rubio has previously tried to counteract the notion that there’s something offensive about opposing marriage equality:
- He once similarly cited “intolerance” against opponents of marriage equality — labeling them as “a hater, a bigot, or someone who is anti-gay” — asserting, “This intolerance in the name of tolerance is hypocrisy.”
- He insists that people who disagree with him still have to respect him, insisting, “Just because I believe states should have the right to define marriage in a traditional way does not make me a bigot.”
- Even though Rubio believes that homosexuality is a sin, he claims that he does not “pass judgment on people.”
- In the same breath that he said that society should not “tolerate” allowing same-sex couples to marry, he claimed that it’s “not a discriminatory thing.”
- He has cosponsored legislation that would allow government employees and business owners to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages for religious reasons with no penalty for the discrimination.
- Rubio specifically told ThinkProgress that he does not favor “special protections” to ensure people are not fired just for their sexual orientation.
In other words, Rubio has incessantly demanded that he be able to have enjoy his anti-gay cake without consequence. He wants to oppose the expansion of any kind of protections against discrimination for the LGBT community, but not be held accountable for the implications of those positions.
What Rubio is actually asking for is that an exception be made for a certain kind of bigotry. If same-sex families are deprived of equal support and recognition under the law, he doesn’t want that to be considered bigotry. If same-sex couples are accused of being inferior parents, he doesn’t want that to be considered bigotry. If a business owner is motivated by his religious beliefs to fire an employee for marrying a same-sex partner, he doesn’t want that to be considered bigotry. But all of those forms of discrimination are, by definition, bigotry.
It may well be true that some Christians oppose marriage equality for same-sex couples for religious reasons. But religious justifications do not exempt anti-gay ideas from being bigoted any more than when they were offered to justify racism or the subjugation of women. Rubio should not be concerned that his religious beliefs might soon be considered bigotry, but that they already are.