Florida Sen. Marco Rubio appears to be embracing opposition to gay marriage as a major plank of his presidential campaign with the release of a new TV ad on Monday and comments he made during a Sunday appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press.
In the latest ad, Rubio laments the loss of what he calls “the essence of America,” making a blatant play for voters who oppose same-sex marriage.
“This election is about the essence of America,” Rubio says in the commercial. “About all of us who feel out of place in our own country. A government incredibly out of touch and millions with traditional values branded bigots and haters.”
The ad also attacks slow wage growth and what Rubio sees as President Obama’s failings when it comes to foreign policy before concluding: “I approve this message because this is about the greatest country in the world…and acting like it.”
Rubio’s ad follows a series of interviews where the candidate has made it clear that he not only disagrees with the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Obergefell v. Hodges case that legalized marriage equality, but would seek to overturn it by appointing so-called “strict constitutionalists” to any vacancies on the Supreme Court. Last month, he gave an interview to David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network where he said that the same-sex marriage decision is “not settled law.”
On Sunday, during an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, Rubio echoed comments made in earlier interviews, telling host Chuck Todd that he disagrees with the Obergefell ruling on “constitutional grounds.” Rather than a sweeping ruling by a federal court, Rubio argues, proponents of same-sex marriage should have tried to change individual state laws governing marriage.
“If you want to change the definition of marriage, then you need to go to state legislatures and get them to change it,” Rubio said. “Because states have always defined marriage. And that’s why some people get married in Las Vegas by an Elvis impersonator. And in Florida, you have to wait a couple days when you get your permit. Every state has different marriage laws. But I do not believe that the court system was the right way to do it.”
Rubio also said he would not push for a federal constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, saying that the power to regulate marriage lays at the state and local level.
“It’s not about discrimination,” he said. “It is about the definition of a very specific, traditional, and age-old institution. That definitional change, if you want to change it, you have a right to petition your state legislature and your elected representatives to do it. What is wrong is that the Supreme Court has found this hidden constitutional right that 200 years of jurisprudence had not discovered, and basically overturned the will of voters in Florida, where over 60 percent passed a constitutional amendment that defined marriage, in the state constitution, as the union of one man and one woman.”
Lastly, Rubio reiterated his belief that marriage equality is not settled law, and vowed to use his power as president to appoint conservative Supreme Court justices to a court with an already decidedly-conservative bent.
“I don’t believe any case law is settled law,” Rubio said. “Any future Supreme Court can change it. And ultimately, I will appoint Supreme Court justices that will interpret the Constitution as originally constructed.”