Marco Rubio waves white flag, shifts into self-contradictory position on marriage

Marco Rubio angered conservatives yesterday when he said that he would not join with some of his opponents in backing a constitutional amendment to allow states to ban same-sex marriage, saying that “I don’t believe the federal government should be in the marriage regulation business.”

Rubio continued, quoted by The New Civil Rights Movement:

We can continue to disagree with it. Perhaps a future court will change that decision, in much the same way as it’s changed other decisions in the past. But my opinion is unchanged, that marriage should continue to be defined as one man and one woman. The decision is what it is, and that’s what we’ll live under.

There’s a lot to not like in Rubio’s comments on both sides of the aisle. For starters, it’s self-contradictory to say that you oppose allowing states to ban same-sex marriage while at the same time saying you don’t believe the federal government should be involved in marriage. The latter sentiment, that the federal government shouldn’t be involved, is the justification for the constitutional amendment in the first place.

Marco Rubio, via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Marco Rubio, via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

To support the principle, but not the actions, of those who would seek to reverse Obergefell v Hodges makes Rubio come off as a lukewarm milquetoast on the right, while reminding the rest of the country that he still doesn’t think that LGBT people deserve marriage equality — even if they have it.

To be clear, there’s a needle to be threaded here within the GOP electorate. The party, while lagging behind the rest of the country by, well, a country mile, is coming around on same-sex marriage — or is at least deciding that it isn’t the hill they want to die on. While alienating the likes of Bryan Fischer, Rubio’s position — self-contradictory as it is — is perfectly coherent for the coalition of GOP voters he hopes to put together: younger and more business-oriented Republicans who are tired of defending their party’s position on marriage when it is so obviously out of step with the rest of the country. No matter how they feel on the issue, they’d rather it go away.

For that coalition, waving a white flag on marriage keeps the issue from distracting from more important things, like turning college students into indentured servants for private equity firms.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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19 Responses to “Marco Rubio waves white flag, shifts into self-contradictory position on marriage”

  1. Bruce Hackel says:

    He has gone from their best, option to immaterial in months. If they really ever had an option.

  2. Josiah Shelburne says:

    Marco Rubio “Trumped: Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner!

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  4. Georgia Calvi says:

    Marco Rubio Frustrated: Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner!

  5. Butch1 says:

    He hasn’t changed much and he certainly isn’t ready for prime time to run this country.

  6. Butch1 says:

    Cruz will have the same problem being he is from the same religion and his father is a minister of it as well. This religion has some strange goals that Cruz has not mentioned one being that they would like to change this country from a democratic-republic into a theocracy.

    As we well know, Ted Cruz came into the senate introducing anti-gay bills which is his main agenda. His religion believes in the bible’s word literally. So, that means they would like to reverse all of the legislation gays have won in the courts and make homosexuality a crime so that all of us could be arrested and be put to death just as the bible says. (I kid you not.) Asking Cruz about this will make him uncomfortable, but it should be done; he is running for president and this should be exposed about him and his religion.

  7. Hue-Man says:

    Here’s how the gay-hating christianist dominionist Prime Minister Harper put it after the highest provincial appeals courts ruled in favor of marriage equality, the Civil Marriage Act was passed, and a parliamentary vote to re-open the marriage debate was defeated: “We have no intention of further opening or reopening this issue.” (The link from 2 years ago, argues that even this statement was insufficient. )

    If Rubio wasn’t so busy triangulating, he could have said something similar or “It’s the law of the land.”

    The contradictions arise only because he kept on talking – sometimes less is more.

  8. FLL says:

    I think I see what Rubio is attempting here, but the problem he is trying to skirt around is a basic institutional problem for the Republican Party. The Republican base was defined in 1968 and 1980 by Nixon and Reagan, and the Republican Party swore allegiance to the ex-Confederate vote in the South and the bigoted vote nationally. But those now-elderly voters from 1968 and 1980 haven’t been replaced by younger generations. Demographically, the GOP seems destined to die. The only third party that is experiencing growth is the Green Party. Libertarians are just maintaining their presence. Marxist parties do not register so much as a blip on the screen (probably because the Marxist opera ended so decisively in the late 20th century).

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  10. BeccaM says:

    Rubio is a feckless, spineless dweeb who’ll drop out after New Hampshire because the only thing anybody remembers about him is his parched mouth and water bottle lunge.

  11. Indigo says:


  12. Indigo says:

    I’m guessing she’s not yet done popping them out.

  13. 2karmanot says:

    It has been said that said Duchess will fetus to the punch.

  14. 2karmanot says:

    Crossing the Rubio-con

  15. Bill_Perdue says:

    He surrendered to mass pressure. Democrats did it earlier but it doesn’t make either of them our allies.

  16. Indigo says:

    All that ever comes out of the Republican Clown Car are clowns. How about challenging them with topics that can stump them because they don’t know what’s going on? Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy? Pacific Trade? Midwestern bridges? Greece’s default? Frau Merkel’s Schadenfreude? The Duchess of Cambridge’s latest fascinator hat?

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