For Marco Rubio, when it comes to gay rights, there’s always a but.
And it always seems to end up with a comment on not creating any laws that explicitly provide equal rights to LGBT people.
The junior U.S. senator from Florida will announce Monday that he's running for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. He'll become the third Republican candidate to officially join the race, joining Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rand Paul (R-KY).
As a young contender, Rubio, 43, has to appear like an open and tolerant candidate with modern sensibilities. But he also has appeal to his conservative voters—so often he acknowledges gay Americans are people that deserve respect, but not any specific laws that protect them from discrimination.
Take a look for yourself. Emphasis all mine.
“By and large I think all Americans should be protected but I’m not for any special protections based on orientation,” Rubio told Think Progress in 2013.
In 2013 Rubio voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that would have made it illegal for employers to discriminate against employees based on the employee's sexual orientation or gender identity.
“I don’t believe that gay Americans should be denied services at a restaurant or hotel or anything of that nature. I also don’t believe however that a caterer or photographer should be punished by the state for refusing to provide services for a gay wedding because of their religious held beliefs. We’ve got to figure out a way to protect that, as well,” said Rubio on NBC’s Meet the Press in a 2014 appearance.
“We need a responsible, permanent solution to the problem of those who are here illegally, Rubio said in his State of the Union response in 2013. “But first, we must follow through on the broken promises of the past to secure our borders and enforce our laws.
He went on to propose his own solution that same year but said he would drop everything if gay LGBT immigrants benefited.
“If this bill has in it something that gives gay couples immigration rights and so forth, it kills the bill. I'm gone. I'm off it,” said Senator Rubio in response to a proposed amendment to extend benefits to same-sex couples, reported to CNN.
Rubio said some foster care children are the most disadvantaged in Florida, but “they shouldn't be forced to be part of a social experiment,” according to the The Tallahassee Democrat.
Rubio’s comments were made after the Florida Department of Children and Families came under fire in 2006 for allegedly allowing foster children to spend the night in a conference room in Tallahassee.
Rubio told CNN that if the Supreme Court decides gay marriage is legal across the country that the decision should be respected, “even if that decision is to allow same-sex marriage everywhere.”
But there’s a big but.
"I wouldn't agree with their ruling, but that would be the law of the land that we would have to follow until it's somehow reversed — either by a future Supreme Court, or a U.S. constitutional amendment, which I don't think is realistic or foreseeable," he said.