Religious-righters and allied politicians who are unyielding opponents of marriage equality for LGBT people have a peculiar view of “intolerance.”
In a speech today at Catholic University in the nation’s capital, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, complained that he and others who reject legal recognition of same-sex marriages are unfairly called haters and bigots:
“Even before this speech is over, I will be attacked as someone who is a hater or a bigot or someone who is anti-gay.”
He went on to acknowledge that gay and lesbian Americans have faced discrimination, but — insisting that “tolerance is a two-way street” — he suggested that opponents of marriage equality also face persecution for their beliefs:
“There is a growing intolerance on this issue,” Rubio said of those who back same-sex marriages. “This intolerance in the name of tolerance is hypocrisy.”
Seriously, Sen. Rubio?
Opponents like Sen. Rubio haven’t just said they reject same-sex marriage. They have succeeded in passing sweeping constitutional bans in many states — including Texas and Florida. Here’s the amendment added to the Texas Constitution in 2005 (Article 1, Section 32):
Sec. 32. MARRIAGE. (a) Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman. (b) This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.
Similarly, a Florida Constitutional amendment in 2008 (Article 1, Section 27) defines marriage as only a union of one man and one woman and says that “no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.” Such bans clearly go far beyond addressing the supposed worries of opponents who see marriage itself as a special institution. They also bar legal recognition of any legal status for same-sex couples, including civil unions or domestic partnerships.
Federal courts have ruled that many state bans, including in Texas, violate the U.S. Constitution. (The Texas ruling has been stayed pending appeal.) But opponents also want to amend the federal Constitution to ban same-sex unions in all of the states.
So tell us again, Sen. Rubio: Who are intolerant people here? Are they those who believe same-sex couples deserve the right to marry and have their relationships treated equally with others under the law? Or are the intolerant ones those who insist that government enforce their own personal biases by barring any legal recognition for relationships they don’t like?