Marco Rubio: States Should Determine Gay Marriage Laws

Image: Marco Rubio: States Should Determine Gay Marriage Laws (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Wednesday, 23 Jul 2014 02:07 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio hasn't changed his stance on same-sex marriage, despite a judge's decision last week to overthrow the state's ban. He still thinks it's up to states, not the federal government, to decide, The Tampa Bay Times reported.

The senator hasn't commented publicly since Florida Keys-area Circuit Judge Luis Garcia, an appointee of former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush, sided with same-sex couples who challenged a voter-approved ban as discriminatory, the Times said.

A Rubio spokesperson said the senator, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, will "defend states' right to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman," according to the Times.

Florida's ban, approved by an overwhelming majority in 2008, defines marriage as being only between one man and one woman. Garcia's ruling on the ban was challenged immediately, with Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi issuing a notice of appeal that prevented any same-sex marriage licenses from being issued.

On Monday, attorneys for Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones, a pair of Key West bartenders whose lawsuit successfully challenged the ban, filed papers asking Garcia to lift Bondi's stay.

Rubio has insisted before that he does not support a federal constitutional ban on gay marriage, and said that last year, when the Supreme Court invalidated the Defense of Marriage Act, that it had made a "serious mistake," the Times reported.

"I appreciate that many Americans’ attitude towards same-sex marriage have changed in recent years," Rubio said at the time. "I respect the rights of states to allow same-sex marriages, even though I disagree with them."

Wednesday's speech at Catholic University isn't solely about the gay marriage issue, Rubio's office said.

Instead, according to the newspaper, the issue will be addressed as part of a large address about conservative family values, which his office said is "one of the largest — yet often least discussed — contributors to our nation’s economic troubles: the breakdown of the American family and the erosion of fundamental values that has followed.”

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