Sen. Marco Rubio said Wednesday that supporters of traditional marriage face increasing backlash for their beliefs.
“Today there is a growing intolerance on this issue, intolerance for those who continue to support traditional marriage,” he told an audience at Catholic University in Washington.
The Florida Republican asserted that working together on this issue will “require those who support same-sex marriage to respect those of us who support traditional marriage.”
He cited the examples of the former chief executive of Mozilla, who stepped down after it was revealed he had donated to the anti-same-sex marriage Proposition 8 in California, and the boycott of Chick-fil-A after its president’s anti-gay marriage comments in 2012.
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“Defining marriage as between one man and one woman is not anti-gay, it is pro-traditional marriage,” he said.
Rubio also called out President Barack Obama, who did not publicly endorse same-sex marriage until two years ago.
“If support for traditional marriage is bigotry, then Barack Obama was a bigot until just before the 2012 election,” Rubio said.
The potential 2016 presidential candidate’s speech was titled “Strong Values for a Strong America,” and it clearly targeted to win over social conservatives.
Rubio also reaffirmed his belief that the right to life outweighs the right for women to chose an abortion, and that raising children in two-parent homes is the key to educated, economically secure adults.