During an appearance Friday in Orlando,
Florida, Senator Marco Rubio called on evangelicals to reach out to
the LGBT community.
Rubio and Donald Trump, the Republican
nominee for president, had been criticized for taking part in the
two-day event, part of the American Renewal Project's “Rediscovering
God” campaign. Many who spoke at the conference, such as Mat
Staver of Liberty Counsel, strongly oppose LGBT rights. Critics also
pointed out that Friday was the second month anniversary of the mass
shooting in an Orlando gay nightclub that left 49 people dead and
injured dozens more.
In his speech, Rubio reiterated his
support for “traditional marriage,” but also called on his
audience to love their LGBT neighbor as the Bible teaches.
“In order to love people you have to
listen to them,” Rubio
said. “You have to understand their perspective, their hope and
their dreams and their fears and their pain. When it comes to our
brothers and our sisters, our fellow Americans, our neighbors in the
LGBT community, we should recognize that our nation, while the
greatest nation in the history of mankind, is one whose history has
been marred by discrimination against and the rejection of gays and
“To love our neighbors in the LGBT
community we should recognize that even as we stand firm in the
belief that marriage is the union between one man and one woman,
there are those in that community in same-sex relationships whose
love for one another is real, and who feel angry and humiliated that
the law did not recognize their relationship as a marriage.”
“And I want to be clear with you:
Abandoning judgment and loving our LGBT neighbors is not a betrayal
of what the Bible teaches – it is a fulfillment of it. Jesus showed
us how to do this. Jesus showed us that we do not have to endorse
what people do in order to accept them for who they are: children of
a loving and a merciful God,” he said.
Rubio added that Americans like himself
“who support keeping the definition of traditional marriage” have
a right to their views.