December 6, 2015 at 2:28 pm EST | by Chris Johnson
Rubio pledges to reverse Obama’s LGBT executive order
Marco Rubio, Values Voter Summit, Republican Party, United States Senate, U.S. Congress, Washington Blade, gay news

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has pledged to reverse President Obama’s LGBT executive orders. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio has pledged to reverse President Obama’s executive order barring anti-LGBT workplace discrimination among federal contractors, saying faith-based businesses are “being compelled to sin by government in their business conduct.”

Rubio made the remarks during Thanksgiving week in the same interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network in which he said the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in favor of same-sex marriage is “not settled law.” The media outlet didn’t publish the portion of the interview in which Rubio talked about Obama’s order until Saturday.

After being questioned about maintaining religious freedom in the United States, which is considered code by conservatives to mean enabling anti-LGBT discrimination, Rubio said “there’s no doubt that we need to be extra vigilant now” about protecting religious liberty.

Much like Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, Rubio said his administration would have a Justice Department “that’s vigilant about ensuring that those who hold traditional values are not being discriminated against.”

“That includes reversing any administrative decisions made by this president that force religious, or religious motivated entities,” Rubio said. “You may not be owned by a church, but you are a religious school, or your mission is to spread the Gospel and adhere to God’s teachings. [I’d] ensure that people in the private sector and the not-for-profit sector are being protected in living out their faith.”

Rubio went on to discuss the Supreme Court rulings in favor of same-sex marriage and abortion rights, saying the next president must appoint justices who understand the U.S Constitution “is not a living and breathing document.”

“It is a document of limitation and it’s supposed to be interpreted and applied based on its original intent,” Rubio said. “And there is no way that you can read that Constitution and deduce from it that there is a constitutional right to an abortion, or a constitutional right to marry someone of the same sex. And what you have is a Supreme Court that wanted to reach a certain policy outcome and so creatively manipulated the Constitution to discover a right that for over two centuries, some of the most brilliant minds and legal history didn’t find.”

When host David Brody raised the issue of executive orders and a strong U.S. attorney general, Rubio said he would reverse the executive orders Obama “has made on things like gender equality in restrooms.”

Rubio invoked the case of Township High School District 211 based in Palatine, Illinois, which recently reached a settlement with the Department of Education to allow a transgender student to use the girls’ locker room consistent with her gender identity.

“You’ve seen some local districts and others been forced to, you know, provide girls access to a boys’ bathroom and so forth,” Rubio said.

But Rubio expanded on his opposition to the federal government’s enforcement of non-discrimination protections against transgender students to include Executive Order 13672, which President Obama signed last year to prohibit anti-LGBT workplace discrimination among companies doing business with the federal government.

The U.S. senator from Florida said the government must not require organizations “motivated by their faith or organized around their faith from having to violate the tenets of their faith, and that includes government contractors.”

“There are many government contractors and small companies who provide services to the government who are faith-based people, and they are, they are being compelled to sin by government in their business conduct,” Rubio said. “That is not something we should be supporting.”

Faith-based advocates, including Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church in California, had called on Obama to include a religious exemption in his executive order. Following pressure from LGBT advocates, Obama omitted such a carve-out in favor of keeping a Bush-era religious exemption in place allowing faith-based businesses to favor co-religionists in hiring practices and still receive federal contracts. Faith-based organizations, such as religious schools or hospitals, are now prohibited from engaging in anti-LGBT discrimination for employment in non-ministerial positions.

Rubio’s pledge to reverse Obama’s pro-LGBT executive orders seems at odds with the recent endorsement he received from GOP philanthropist Paul Singer, who supports LGBT rights and has contributed funds to pro-LGBT initiatives. The Washington Blade has placed a call to a representative for Singer seeking comment on Rubio’s remarks.

The White House declined to comment on Rubio’s pledge to reverse Obama’s LGBT executive orders.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

  • So, hiring LGBT people and treating us fairly is a sin.

    It’s nice to know this about our possible future President. Somebody really ought to point out to him that that’s what he said. It’s the great thing about living in the Information Age. Primary race pandering can come back to haunt you in a general election.

    • He knows what he said, and it wasn’t pandering. Rubio is a true believer in keeping LGBT people down. He’s just as regressive as every other Republican candidate.

  • No one is making them accept LGBT tax dollars…..

  • Does he want folks to have to prove they are heterosexual before they are treated properly?

    In what religion does someone else’s sexual orientation make you a sinner?

    That’s a new one to me. That’s not Christianity.

  • We should not be judged based on any belief system. We should all be treated equally. This is like going back and saying the blacks don’t deserve their rights because someone thinks it’s a sin. Guess what judgment is a sin, along with smoking, tatoos, drinking excessively, and several other things everyone of you “christans” do on a daily basis.

  • It’s understandable for Christians to get upset. They are slowly losing something precious to them, privilege. It’s an undeserved and unconstitutional privilege their losing, but a privilege they have long had.

    Historically, Christians have been able to humiliate and dehumanize those their religions says are “sinners” or “blasphemers” with impunity. It hasn’t been that long ago that atheists, for just one example, could be tortured, imprisoned or burnt alive and hardly a word would be spoken. Some Muslim countries still carry on that tradition. This is just a continuing story of Christians losing the ability to mistreat others. They squealed and fought when that lost the right to enslave blacks, prevent women from voting, prevent inter-racial marriage, and are now fighting for the right to mistreat gays. Once they have reconciled their loss to secular society future history will be rewritten They will claim it was they who fought and won equal rights for gays. One day, just like they did with slavery, they might even claim the Bible makes absolutely no claims about how to treat gays.

  • But I guess a little nookie on the side is just fine. Wait until that Rubio merde hits the proverbial fan.

  • The U.S. senator from Florida said the U.S. government must not require organizations “motivated by their faith or organized around their faith from having to violate the tenants of their faith, and that includes government contractors.”

    “Organizations motivated by their faith” Like ISIS, ISIL, Daesh……

  • This
    statement, that by somehow not being able to discriminate, businesses
    are themselves participating in the “sin,” demonstrates the most basic
    level of theological ignorance. As far as I am aware, there is no
    Christian theology that validates the concept of “sin by extension.”
    What to expect from a man who has been Catholic, Mormon, Baptist, and
    back and around again? He has no idea what these faiths actually teach
    or what he actually believes. He’s just a craven weather vane trying to
    pass off his ignorance as theologically principled.


  • It must have been a sin for Jesus to hang out with prostitutes and other “sinners!! Rubio is nothing more than a pharisee!

  • People like Rubio and Cruz think that they can just reverse Constitutional gains of the past 150 years by legislating around the Supreme Courts’ decisions! Either one will set this country back to pre-Civil War standards, and this country will never be great again!

  • Like I have always said an Executive Order is a Band-Aid only good while the sitting President who issued it is in office. We need real federal legislation and need to stop duping ourselves to think we are safe with anything less.

    Of course despite this some brain-dead conservative-leaning ags will still vote for Rubio or other like him! At least Rubio is honest about how he plans to screw us over! Anyone still think the GOP is the place for GLBT Americans!?

  • Being a federal contractor is a choice. No one is forced to do business with the government. Anyone so “convicted” can simply give notice of contract termination and walk away. The only thing that has changed is that you can no longer exercise your “God-given” right to be ignorant without impunity.

  • No, you don’t promise ANYTHING, Republican Rubio. You are not, and will never be, in a situation where you will be able to reverse anything Democrat President Obama has put through. Nothing. You know what NOTHING is, don’t you, Rubes? It’s what you see when you look in the mirror. And, it’s what we all see when we look at you.

  • Obama thinks that he is King Obama.

    He is not.

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