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Orlando: Marco Rubio Softens Anti-LGBT Rhetoric At Conservative Conference

Sen. Marco Rubio

In an eyebrow raising speech to the Liberty Counsel in Orlando today, virulently anti-LGBT Sen. Marco Rubio appeared to soften his rhetoric against gays and lesbians. His appearance had been criticized for the timing coinciding with the two month anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shooting that left 49 LGBTs dead.

As many know, Rubio has been a devout opponent of LGBT rights including marriage equality.

Today, he told Christian conservatives that they should take note of the consequences of intolerance.

From the New York Times:

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who has faced widespread condemnation for agreeing to speak at a conference alongside Christian conservatives who have denounced homosexuality and gay rights, used his speech to the group on Friday to warn of the costs of intolerance.

His remarks in Orlando, Fla., not far from the site of the massacre at a gay nightclub in June, were his most extensive yet in public on the subject of prejudice against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. And he struck a notably softer tone than during his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, during which he repeatedly reaffirmed his opposition to same-sex marriage.

While he repeated his belief that marriage should not be redefined to include same-sex couples, his speech touched on the history of discrimination against gays, which he asked his audience to consider.

“When it comes to our brothers and our sisters, our fellow Americans, our neighbors in the L.G.B.T. community, we should recognize,” he said, that American history “has been marred by discrimination against and rejection of gays and lesbians.”

He then walked through a list of examples that included discriminatory hiring practices by the federal government, raids of gay establishments by the police and the proliferation of anti-gay slurs.

I can’t imagine that this kind of speech is what the folks at the “Rediscovering God in America” conference were expecting from Rubio.