As the race for the presidency kicks into high gear, two Floridians have their eye on the White House. Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are two favorites for the Republican Party’s nod for high office. As it stands at press time, Rubio and Bush are two of the front runners on the GOP side of the aisle. It’s really early to speculate as to who Republican voters will choose, but let’s take a look at the Floridian contingency and how they line up on LGBT issues. Spoiler alert: it’s NOT good!
Bush, the former two-term governor of Florida, and Rubio, one of our current U.S. Senators, have both been outspoken on their opposition to marriage equality as well as supporting a statewide constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between one man and one woman. (Or in the case of Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, one woman and one man, or another man, or another man.)
Just last week, as the Supreme Court was about to hear arguments in marriage equality cases, Rubio courted the crazy motherf–ker right-winger vote when he went on the Christian Broadcasting Network and proclaimed “There is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage…you would have to have a ridiculous and absurd reading of the constitution to reach the conclusion that people have a right to marry someone of the same sex.” It seems Senator Rubio may need to brush up on his Constitutional studies. Section One of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution states “…No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” What seems ridiculous and absurd is that in 2015 we have a seemingly viable candidate for President of the United States of America who could still believe that anti-gay laws pass the constitutional muster and are not discriminatory.
Rubio has raged against marriage equality time and time again, and so has his political mentor Jeb Bush. Bush, who would complete the first presidential trilogy if elected, is also anti-gay and has had no qualms about disparaging marriage equality and the LGBT community, despite his fake tack to the political center and no real movement on gay rights issues. “We live in a democracy, and regardless of our disagreements, we have to respect the rule of law,” said Bush in January. “I hope that we can show respect for the good people on all sides of the gay and lesbian marriage issue — including couples making lifetime commitments to each other who are seeking greater legal protections and those of us who believe marriage is a sacrament and want to safeguard religious liberty.” As his presidential run was kicking in to high gear, Bush hired several campaign staffers and aides who, in the words of one Huffington Post article, are “strong public supporters of legalizing same-sex marriage…” However, where the rubber meets the road, Bush is no friend to the LGBT community, nor does he actually seem to have changed his views on marriage equality or LGBT rights. When, after hiring the only gay-friendly Republicans in the country, Bush was asked if he had changed his position on marriage equality, Jeb Bush responded “No. I believe in traditional marriage.”
Time and time again, Bush says the decision should be left to the states and not decided by the courts. Marco Rubio has used the same language while discussing the topic. What Governor Bush and his mentee Senator Rubio seem to overlook, and even forget, is that the states did decide over 10 years ago when many, including Florida, passed anti-marriage equality constitutional amendments. And TIME AND TIME AGAIN, courts at all levels of government have ruled that those amendments violate the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens. Those courts are doing exactly what they are charged by the Constitution to do. It says “The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity…” The states make laws, and if those laws violate the rights of the people, which they have done over and over again throughout U.S. history, it’s the job of the courts to set things right. Both sides can appeal all the way to the Supreme Court, which ultimately decides the constitutionality of said laws. Sorry, haters, but you can’t deny people their rights, nor can you single out a group of citizens and say they have special rights.
This column is called Politics Unusual and one thing is for sure: when it comes to Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, nothing has changed and it’s really just Politics as Usual. They refuse to evolve on the issue of LGBT equality despite the overwhelming evidence that the rest of the country has had a profound shift in the way they view the LGBT community and marriage equality.