Aiming straight for the Christian conservative vote, Marco Rubio polished up his anti-gay-marriage bona fides this afternoon in an address at the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C.
The Florida senator has made a series of high-profile speeches this year that indicate he is seriously running for president. In this address, he discussed what he called the growing intolerance toward those who oppose same-sex marriage.
"That right to define and regulate marriage is a two-way street," he said. "A majority of states still have laws that still define marriage as one man and one woman. And in some, like my home state of Florida, voters placed that definition in our state constitution."
Rubio decried judges like Monroe County Circuit Judge Luis M. Garcia, who overturned Florida’s 2008 constitutional gay-marriage ban on Thursday, and ordered that two Key West bartenders and other gay couples seeking to wed be allowed to marry. The state is appealing the decision.
And he called out what he is said was the "growing intolerance on this issue — intolerance towards those who continue to support traditional marriage." He cited the example of Brendan Eich, who stepped down
as the CEO of Mozilla after it was reported that he gave a campaign contribution to the campaign to ban same-sex marriage in California. He also referred to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, saying, "We have seen the CEO of Starbucks tell a shareholder who supports traditional marriage that he should sell his shares and invest in some other company."
(But that's not exactly what happened. According to Snopes.com, at a Starbucks shareholders meeting in March 2013, shareholder Tom Strobhar — founder of The Corporate Morality Action Center, an organization which opposes same-sex marriage — challenged Schultz over the company's financial performance. Strobhar suggested it had been harmed by Starbucks' corporate support of same-sex marriage and the subsequent boycotts, saying: "In the first full quarter after this boycott was announced, our sales and our earnings — shall we say politely — were a bit disappointing."
Schultz responded by saying that Starbucks stock had performed well over the past year. Affirming the company's support of same-sex marriage, he stated that not all corporate decisions were based purely on economics, and told Strobhar, "If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38% you got last year, it’s a free country. You can sell your shares in Starbucks and buy shares in another company.")
Rubio's speech included an ominous (and likely self-fulfilling) prophecy: "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 said "intolerance in the name of tolerance is hypocrisy," and that defending marriage as between one man and one woman was not anti-gay, but "pro-traditional marriage," saying that if being anti-gay marriage is bigotry, "then Barack Obama was a bigot until just before the 2012 election," when he reversed his position and came out in support of same-sex unions.