Ahead of the South Carolina Republican primary, Marco Rubio has created a “marriage and family” board for his campaign that seems intent on reversing marriage rights for gay couples.
According to a campaign statement, Rubio established the “Marriage & Family Advisory Board” because he believes family is the most important institution in society and “everyone benefits” when marriage and family thrive.
Eric Teetsel, the Rubio campaign’s director of faith outreach, referenced in an accompanying statement the Supreme Court’s rulings against the Defense of Marriage Act and same-sex marriage bans, indicating this vision excludes gay people.
“The Supreme Court’s decisions in Windsor and Obergefell are only the most recent example of our failure as a society to understand what marriage is and why it matters,” Teetsel said. “For decades, we have taken for granted the unique and necessary contributions of moms and dads in the lives of their children, from lax divorce laws to marriage penalties in the tax code and the failure of husbands and wives to live up to their marriage vows. Marco understands the many causes of family breakdown and the consequences. He has pulled together a board of experts who understand the same and have devoted themselves to rebuilding a vibrant culture of marriage and family.”
Teetsel has a strong anti-gay record and called same-sex marriage a “cultural sin.”
The advisory board is made up of a who’s who of anti-LGBT advocates. Among them is Ryan Anderson, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, who’s written attacks on same-sex marriage and on laws prohibiting anti-LGBT discrimination.
Rubio created the marriage board on the same day during a presidential debate that he praised the late U.S. Associate Justice Antonin Scalia for his dissent in the Obergefell marriage ruling and said in his closing statement he represents Americans who think marriage is one man, one woman.
These actions comes amid a highly contested Republican primary ahead of the contest on Saturday in South Carolina — a conservative state — where polls show Trump in the lead by double-digits, followed by Ted Cruz, then Rubio.
The creation of the marriage board seems at odds with Rubio’s endorsement from Paul Singer, a Republican mega-donor who’s supported GOP presidential candidates and LGBT rights causes. The Washington Blade has a placed a request with Singer’s representative to comment on the advisory board.
Here’s a list of the advisory board members to Rubio’s marriage board:
Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D., Senior Research Fellow, The Heritage Foundation
Joseph Backholm, Executive Director, Family Policy Institute of Washington
Ambassador Ken Blackwell, Senior Fellow, Family Research Council
David S. Dockery, President, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Sherif Girgis, J.D./Ph.D. candidate, Yale Law & Princeton
Alan Hawkins, Ph.D., Professor, Brigham Young University
Kay Hymowitz, William E. Simon Fellow, Manhattan Institute
Jonathan Keller, CEO, California Family Council
Caitlin La Ruffa, Executive Director, Love and Fidelity Network
Robert Lerman, Emeritus Professor of Economics, American University
Everett Piper, Ph.D., President, Oklahoma Wesleyan University
Bill Wichterman, former special assistant to President George W. Bush
Bradford Wilcox, Senior Fellow, Institute for Family Studies & Visiting Scholar, American Enterprise Institute