In his latest brush with hypocrisy, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) will speak at a conference hosted by an anti-LGBTQ organization, weeks after he said that he was motivated to run for a second term in the Senate because of the terror attack at a gay nightclub in Orlando.
The event, called “Rediscovering God in America Renewal Project,” is hosted by the conservative Christian legal defense fund Liberty Counsel, a “hate group” that supports anti-trans bathroom bills in various states. The organization’s president Mat Staver also represented Kim Davis, the county clerk who was jailed for resisting marriage equality in Kentucky.
In an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt last month, Rubio said that he was “deeply impacted” by the deaths of 48 victims at the Pulse nightmare, saying that it “impacted my thinking in general about a lot of things.”
“I haven’t even given it thought in that perspective, other than to say I’ve been deeply impacted by it and I think when it visits your home states, when it impacts a community you know well, it really gives you pause, to think a little bit about your service to your country and where you can be most useful to your country,” Rubio told Hewitt.
Speaking with the LGBTQ magazine The Advocate, Rubio sympathized with the LGBTQ community, saying, “I don’t need investigators to tell me the gay community was targeted in this attack,” Rubio told The Advocate. “Watch the videos. We know what ISIS has done to people they accuse of being homosexual. They throw them off of buildings. They execute them.”
According to the Miami New Times, other speakers at the event are passionate defenders of anti-LGBTQ legislation. The publication noted that the list of speakers include: a homophobic historian; an author who claimed homosexuals can be blamed for Islamic terrorism; a pastor who promotes “covenant marriage,” where couples have to sign documents that limit their ability to divorce; another pastor who rails against the rise of “militant homofascism”; and a former congressman who works as a lobbyist for the Pro-Family Legislative Network.
Anti-LGBT Groups Absolutely Deserve Their ‘Hate Group’ DesignationsThis week, the Associated Press profiled the Liberty Counsel, the conservative legal group representing Kim Davis, but…thinkprogress.orgRubio may have been genuinely sympathetic for the victims and for the LGBTQ community soon after the Orlando terror attack, but he has previously espoused harsh, offensive comments about the gay community. He is opposed to marriage equality, instead preferring that state legislatures be able to determine their own marriage laws. He called homosexuality a sin, though he also claimed that he doesn’t “pass judgment on people.” And 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.
But Rubio has long leaned into his hypocrisy when it served his platform during election season. As a Republican presidential candidate, Rubio suggested that now-Republican nominee Donald Trump was a “lunatic” who should not be trusted with nuclear codes and mocked him on the basis of hand size. He later pledged to vote for Trump and said that he would do whatever is “helpful to the cause” to help elect Trump.
During campaign events in recent days, Rubio has even been supporting Trump by name, telling his supporters, “We have got to come together as a party. We cannot lose to Hillary Clinton. We cannot lose the White House… We have to make sure that Donald wins this election.”
Going further back, as one of the original sponsors of the Senate’s comprehensive immigration bill, Rubio has taken various positions on immigration reform, notably calling undocumented immigrants “brave” in 2012, before becoming a staunch opponent of his own bill as he geared up to run for president.