Marco Rubio likely majorly pissed off some of the Christofascists attending a confab on the two month anniversary of the Pulse massacre, when he chastised them for their intolerance and cruelty towards the LGBT community. Perhaps he was reacting to the sharp condemnation he has received for attending an anti-gay zealot gathering in the first place or perhaps he is realizing that in order to save his sorry - and rumored to be gay - ass in his upcoming primary challenge and then the general election, he needs more that just the votes of raging homophobes. While some of what Rubio said was a vast improvement over what most Republicans say about LGBT individuals, he nonetheless repeated opposition to LGBT non-discrimination protections that would lessen special rights for Christofascists. Here are excerpts from the New York Times:
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who has faced widespread condemnation for agreeing to speak at a conference alongside Christian conservatives who have denounced homosexuality and gay rights, used his speech to the group on Friday to warn of the costs of intolerance.
His remarks in Orlando, Fla., not far from the site of the massacre at a gay nightclub in June, were his most extensive yet in public on the subject of prejudice against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. And he struck a notably softer tone than during his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, during which he repeatedly reaffirmed his opposition to same-sex marriage.
Using the shorthand “L.G.B.T.” several times, Mr. Rubio told the group that the perception that many Christians are anti-gay is harming their faith. He urged them to resist passing judgment on gays.
“Do not judge, or you will be judged,” he said, echoing a verse from the Bible.
"To love our neighbors we must recognize that many have experienced sometimes severe condemnation and judgment from some Christians,” he said. “They have heard some say that the reason God will bring condemnation on America is because of them — as if somehow God was willing to put up with adultery and gluttony and greed and pride, but now this is the last straw.”
While he repeated his belief that marriage should not be redefined to include same-sex couples, his speech touched on the history of discrimination against gays, which he asked his audience to consider.
“When it comes to our brothers and our sisters, our fellow Americans, our neighbors in the L.G.B.T. community, we should recognize,” he said, that American history “has been marred by discrimination against and rejection of gays and lesbians.”
He then walked through a list of examples that included discriminatory hiring practices by the federal government, raids of gay establishments by the police and the proliferation of anti-gay slurs.
Mr. Rubio drew especially harsh criticism from gay rights activists for agreeing to speak to the group, the Florida Renewal Project, because he has said the killings at the Pulse nightclub caused him to reconsider his decision not to run again for the Senate. As he runs for re-election, social conservatives are an important constituency.
According to People for the American Way, which tracks anti-gay activists, several of the speakers listed on the invitation with Mr. Rubio have said many of the things the senator spoke out against on Friday. One of them, David Barton, a longtime Republican Party activist from Texas, has said that AIDS is a punishment for homosexuality.
Do I trust Rubio or think he is really sincere? Not at all, but perhaps he - and hopefully others in the GOP - is realizing that anti-LGBT extremism is becoming a negative with the majority of the American public.