After citing the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Florida as a reason to seek re-election, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has earned the lowest rating possible on LGBT rights in the Human Rights Campaign’s latest congressional scorecard.
HRC’s scorecard of the 114th Congress — made public by the organization on Friday — rates Rubio at “0” out of a possible “100” on LGBT votes in the U.S. Senate.
The score is based on Rubio’s votes against amendments that would have ensured Social Security and veteran spousal benefits for married same-sex couples, measures that would enact non-discrimination protections for LGBT students and LGBT homeless youth and his vote against confirmation of U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Rubio was also docked points for not co-sponsoring the Equality Act, the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Global Respect Act.
The “0” rating indicates Rubio’s score on LGBT rights keeps falling. In the 113th Congress, Rubio scored “22” and lost points for casting a vote against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Rubio scored a “47” in the 112th Congress.
David Stacy, government affairs director for HRC, slammed Rubio for not only refusing to embrace LGBT rights, but having “moved backwards during his time in the Senate.”
“Marco Rubio has voted to keep LGBTQ people in fear of being denied a job because of who they are or whom they love,” Stacy said. In addition to voting against bipartisan employment protections, Rubio voted against a bipartisan measure to protect LGBTQ students from discrimination in school. No matter how you slice it, Marco Rubio’s anti-LGBTQ voting record is at odds not just with the majority of Floridians but also his fellow Republicans in Florida’s congressional delegation.”
The scorecard was published after Rubio, who initially said he’d retire from the Senate after his failed presidential bid, seeks to win re-election to the seat after all. Rubio said he reversed that decision after the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla,, that left 49 dead and 53 wounded. Yet, on the two-month anniversary of the shooting, he spoke at an event hosted by anti-LGBT advocates just miles from the nightclub.
The positions he took in his bid for the White House aren’t assessed in the scorecard. As a candidate, Rubio said he’d reverse President Obama’s executive order barring anti-LGBT workplace discrimination among federal contractors, push for passage of the anti-LGBT First Amendment Defense Act during his first 100 days in office and appoint justices in the mold of the late U.S. Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.
Meanwhile, Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.), who’s challenging Rubio for his U.S. Senate seat, scored a perfect “100” for his record on LGBT votes in the 114th Congress. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), the senior U.S. senator from the state, earned a score of “94.” Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), whom Murphy beat for the Democratic nomination to run for the U.S. Senate seat, scored a “96.”
Many members of Florida’s U.S. House delegation who are Republicans scored significantly higher than Rubio. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who supports marriage equality, has a transgender son and recently became a co-sponsor of the Equality Act, earned a perfect “100.”
Rep. Carlos Curbelo earned an “88” and Rep. David Jolly obtained a “64.” Both are among the handful of U.S. House Republicans who support same-sex marriage. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) obtained a “64” and Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) scored a “32.”
On the other hand, 12 House Republicans from Florida — Reps. Jeff Miller, Ted Yoho, Ander Crenshaw, Ron DeSantis, John Mica, Bill Posey, Daniel Webster, Richard Nugent, Gus Bilirakis, Dennis Ross, Vern Buchanan, Tom Rooney and Curt Clawson — each scored a “0” like Rubio.
Galia Slayen, a Murphy spokesperson, said in a statement to the Washington Blade the choice between him and Rubio couldn’t be more distinct based on the congressional scorecard.
“Patrick will always stand with Florida’s LGBT community to fight for equal rights, and this scorecard is proof of his commitment,” Slayen said. “Unlike Marco Rubio, who has opposed LGBT rights and protections at every opportunity and spoke at a hate rally instead of standing alongside the victims and their families after the Pulse tragedy. Florida’s LGBT community deserves better and Patrick will bring their voice to the U.S. Senate as our country continues to fight for LGBT equality.”
The Blade has placed a request with Rubio’s office seeking comment on his abysmal rating in the congressional scorecard.