Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on the question of marriage equality:
While recognizing that “our history is marred by discrimination against gays and lesbians,” Rubio argued that “traditional marriage has such an extraordinary record of success at raising children” and must be perpetuated to the exclusion of same-sex unions.
“[T]oday, there is a growing intolerance on this issue, intolerance towards those who continue to support traditional marriage,” Rubio observed, citing the firing of the CEO of Mozilla, following revelations that he supported California’s campaign to ban same-sex marriage, and other instances where opponents of marriage equality suffered economic consequences. “And I promise you that even before this speech is over, I will be attacked as a hater, a bigot or someone who is anti-gay,” he added. “This intolerance in the name of tolerance is hypocrisy.”
Rubio then sought to shield himself from accusations of homophobia, by linking his position on the issue to President Obama’s.” “Supporting the definition of marriage as one man and one woman is not anti-gay, it is pro-traditional marriage,” the junior senator claimed.
It takes more than a little gall to shed crocodile tears over discrimination against gays and lesbians and then turn around and explain in detail why he does it.
I’ve heard the “traditional marriage” line so many times that I’m not going to bother to once again remind him that what he calls traditional marriage — i.e. one man and one woman — isn’t all that traditional. It certainly isn’t that way in the bible, nor is the idea of two people falling in love and getting married as opposed to an arranged marriage between two fathers as a business deal. Read some Shakespeare or download Fiddler on the Roof.
His claim is that “traditional marriage” must be preserved to the exclusion of all others because it of its “extraordinary record of success in raising children.” This claim may be true; it’s nice to have a mom and a dad. But there are a lot of single parents who do just as good a job with their kids as anybody else. So they shouldn’t be allowed to raise kids because they’re not married? What about straight people who for whatever reason choose not to have children? If you’re going to exclude same-sex couples from marriage because they can’t reproduce the old-fashioned way, why not exclude the straight ones who don’t have kids? Must all marriage licenses require proof of fertility?
Mr. Rubio implies that “traditional marriage” is under attack. By whom? Advocates for marriage equality don’t want to stop straight people from getting married. It’s not some zero-sum game wherein one is traded out for the other. How can advocating for committed unions between two people who happen to have the same form of genitalia threaten those marriages between two people who don’t?
That’s where the intolerance comes in. Pro-”traditional” marriage people don’t want same-sex couples to have the benefits of marriage, whereas those of us who are pro-marriage equality want everybody to have the benefits. So who is the intolerant one? Saying that same-sex marriage somehow denigrates or mocks straight marriage is yet again another sign of intolerance because that’s saying that the people in that marriage are less than worthy of respect simply because of their orientation. Again, who is the intolerant one?
And then there’s the church. Mr. Rubio doesn’t say it, but the implication is that marriage equality violates religious freedom by forcing Christians to accept something they don’t approve of. However, not all Christians accept the idea of banning same-sex marriage. In fact, there are a number of Christian denominations, including mainline Protestants, who welcome and perform same-sex weddings, as do a number of Jewish synagogues. Why do some Christians get to tell others who they can or cannot celebrate in the bonds of holy matrimony?
But let’s be fair. If Sen. Rubio can give us a valid reason based in law as to why same-sex couples should not be joined in matrimony, let him speak now. So far, though, more than twenty state and federal courts have heard arguments for and against marriage equality since the Supreme Court handed down their decision in United States v. Windsor which struck down DOMA, and not one court has ruled in favor of his position. In fact, the prevailing opinion of all those courts with judges appointed by everyone from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama is that state bans on marriage equality are violations of the equal protection and due process clauses of the Constitution, and some of the rulings have said that the bans are in place for no other reason than to deny those protections to same-sex couples and serve no valid state purpose other than to enshrine gay-bashing in the law.
Sen. Rubio says that he will be labeled as is “a hater, a bigot or someone who is anti-gay” because he opposes marriage equality. So let us give him the benefit of the doubt. He can prove he is not by giving us a reason to oppose marriage equality that isn’t based on bigotry, discrimination, and intolerance. We are all anxious to hear it.