Marco Rubio, Florida's most brazen political opportunist, used the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando as an excuse to run for Senate reelection despite having said about a thousand times that his career as a U.S. Senator was over. After the shooting, he told the Advocate, the nation's largest LGBT magazine, that the shooting was a clear attack on queer Americans. He said elsewhere he was "deeply impacted" by it.
Because Rubio apparently has the memory span of a goldfish, he sees no issue in returning to Orlando August 12 to speak at a conference held by a virulently anti-gay Christian group.
Rubio will address the crowd at an event called the "Rediscovering God in America Renewal Project" at the Hyatt Regency Orlando next month. The meeting is hosted by the right-wing Liberty Counsel, a "pro-family" Christian group with a long history of straight-up hatred of LGBT people.
The group is run by Mat Staver, also known as the attorney who represented Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk famous for refusing to let gay people get married. During that whole ordeal, Staver attacked "the media" and "liberals" for not siding with Davis.
"They want her scalp to hang on the wall as a trophy," he said of the American Civil Liberties Union.
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The event is also hosted by the Florida Renewal Project, an affiliate of the similarly anti-gay American Renewal Project. That group's leader, David Lane, has spewed so much LGBT-hate in the past that it would take days to compile it all. Here's a short summary: Lane has argued that God would punish homosexuals praying at President Obama's 2013 inauguration with "car bombs"; encouraged Christians to "prepare for martyrdom" to fight same-sex marriage; quoted an author who said that "same sex marriage practiced universally is suicide"; said homosexuality is a "Marxist psychological conditioning plot"; and compared Republicans who support gay marriage to politicians who supported slavery. We're honestly just getting started here. (The website Right Wing Watch has compiled even more.)
And that's just the background of the event's two hosts. Rubio will also speak alongside this all-star cast of gay-haters, including:
- David Barton, a discredited evangelical historian whose book about Thomas Jefferson, The Jefferson Lies, was pulled from shelves for containing too many factual inaccuracies. (NPR also attacked him for somehow misquoting the Bible. Repeatedly.) Back to the homophobia: He's also said God is rightfully blocking a cure for HIV and AIDS to punish LGBT people.
- Bill Federer, a conservative author who claims homosexuals are to blame for Islamic terrorism.
- Fred L. Lowery, a conservative pastor and author who once wrote a book promoting religious "covenant marriage," a stricter form of marriage in which couples sign documents restricting the reasons they can divorce. In the '90s, other religious leaders said marriage in the absence of a "covenant" encourages "homosexual or polygamous marriage."
- Ken Graves, a pastor who preaches against the rise of "militant homofascism," whatever that is.
- Former U.S. Rep. Bob McEwen, who now works as a lobbyist for the Pro-Family Legislative Network, where he spends his time writing bills aimed at "strengthening family values" across America. (Coincidentally, McEwen also worked as a lobbyist for former Côte d'Ivoire dictator Laurent Gbagbo, who was arrested by the United Nations in 2012 for widespread human rights violations.)
Of course, everyone already knew Rubio's genuflection toward the LGBT community in June was pretty hollow. Rubio himself has a long history of covert LGBT hatred: The civil rights group Human Rights Campaign has repeatedly bit into the senator for his longstanding opposition to gay marriage, his battle to withhold federal civil-rights protections from LGBT people, his history of fundraising for gay-conversion therapy groups, and, of course, for being a "champion" of traditional marriage.