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04/19/2007


Sen. Marco Rubio Obstructs First Gay Black Judge Nominated To The Federal Bench

6a00d8341c730253ef017ee527ef8f970d-piBack in November, President Obama nominated out gay Judge William Thomas for a seat on the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Unfortunately, Judge Thomas is still waiting to be confirmed by the US Senate while many of President Obama's other judicial nominees appointed at the same time have already been confirmed. The Washington Blade today reports that Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) and a little blue slip of paper are the only things standing in the way of advancing Thomas' confirmation.

When it comes to senate confirmations of Presidential appointees to the bench, senators on the judiciary committee are not the only ones who get to weigh in. Senators from a nominee's home state are involved as well and provided with "blue slips" they must then submit in order for the confirmation process to continue. However, as the United States Senate Committe on the Judiciary notes, "The return of a positive "blue slip" is not a commitment by either home state Senator to support or oppose, a pending nomination." The purpose rather is to "encourage consultation" and respect the senator's "interest in nominees from their home state." Though Florida's other senator, Bill Nelson, recently submitted his blue slip, perhaps due to recent media scrutiny surrounding his inaction on Thomas' confirmation, Rubio has yet to submit his, without concrete explanation, his office not responding, "to repeated requests from the Blade over the past two weeks to comment on why he continues to hold up the Thomas nomination."

RubioNow LGBT groups and others are calling for movement on Thomas' nomination. The Washington Blade reports:

Fred Sainz, vice president of communications for the Human Rights Campaign, is among those calling for Rubio to take action.

“He should return the blue slip and allow this well-qualified jurist to get confirmed by the U.S. Senate,” Sainz said. “The federal district court system is already backlogged. There’s no good reason why justice should be further delayed when Judge Thomas is ready, willing and able to serve.”


GetEQUAL Stages Sit-In at Senator Rubio's Florida Office

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The LGBT rights group GetEQUAL--best known for its sometimes confrontational protests of Don't Ask, Don't Tell--today staged a sit-in at Florida Senator Marco Rubio's office in Tampa.  From the organization's press release on the demonstration:

606px-Marco_Rubio,_Official_Portrait,_112th_CongressThe U.S. Supreme Court continues to deliberate over whether LGBT Americans have the constitutional right to marry via cases involving California's Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act. However, despite poll after poll indicating that a majority of Americans support marriage equality, politicians like Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) continue to stand in the way of LGBT equality.

Senator Rubio has recently attempted to hijack the Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill moving through the Senate (S. 744) in order to keep binational same-sex couples out of the bill, and has also recently come out against the common-sense Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) -- showing that he dead-set on taking the country backward, not forward. Activists with GetEQUAL are pushing back on these attempts by taking action in Rubio's office today.

2_getequalAfter the three activists were led out of the office in handcuffs and given notices to appear in court, a Rubio staffer attempted to have one of the protestors--an undocumented DREAMer--arrested by a police offer.  

A statement issued by GetEQUAL after the protest has more details:

As these activists were being led away from Sen. Rubio's office for drawing attention to these regressive views and to call on Sen. Rubio to "evolve" his views on immigration and employment discrimination, a Rubio staffer told the police officers in the room that one of the people in the room -- GetEQUAL Co-Director Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez -- "is here illegally."

Despite the fact that Felipe was serving in a support role and was not risking arrest or otherwise breaking any laws, the officer proceeded to ask Felipe whether he has papers, and asked to see his drivers license.

Under the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) program Secure Communities (S-COMM), law enforcement officers are not permitted to ask about an individual's immigration status unless a law has been broken (http://www.ice.gov/secure_communities/). Even if an undocumented immigrant breaks the law and is arrested, ICE policies still do not require the individual to answer questions about her or his immigration status.

Two weeks ago, Rubio told a conservative radio host that he would blow up the comprehensive immigration reform he has helped to fashion if it included protections for same-sex couples, saying, "If this bill has in it something that gives gay couples immigration rights and so forth, it kills the bill.  I'm gone, I'm off it."  That same week, when asked by ThinkProgress if he supported the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, Rubio said, "I’m not for any special protections based on orientation."


Marco Rubio: It Should Be Legal to Fire Someone for Being Gay: VIDEO

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Think Progress caught up with Senator Marco Rubio today in an elevator at the opening luncheon of the annual Faith and Freedom Forum and asked him about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

Said Rubio:

"I haven’t read the legislation. By and large I think all Americans should be protected but I’m not for any special protections based on orientation."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

It was the second fail on LGBT civil rights for Rubio in 24 hours.

Earlier, he said he's finished with the immigration bill if it includes gay couples:

"If this bill has something in it that gives gay couples immigration rights and so forth, it kills the bill. I'm done," Rubio said Thursday during an interview on the Andrea Tantaros Show. "I'm off it, and I've said that repeatedly. I don't think that's going to happen and it shouldn't happen. This is already a difficult enough issue as it is."

Continue reading "Marco Rubio: It Should Be Legal to Fire Someone for Being Gay: VIDEO" »


Marco Rubio: If Immigration Bill Includes Gay Couples 'I'm Done'

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Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) said he's finished with the immigration bill if it includes gay couples, The Ticket reports:

"If this bill has something in it that gives gay couples immigration rights and so forth, it kills the bill. I'm done," Rubio said Thursday during an interview on the Andrea Tantaros Show. "I'm off it, and I've said that repeatedly. I don't think that's going to happen and it shouldn't happen. This is already a difficult enough issue as it is."


Marco Rubio at CPAC: Denying Gays the Right to Marry 'Does Not Make Me a Bigot' - VIDEO

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Florida Senator Marco Rubio spoke at CPAC Thursday afternoon, Think Progress reports:

I respect people who disagree with me on certain things, but that means they have to respect me too. Just because I believe states should have the right to define marriage in a traditional way does not make me a bigot. Just because we believe that life, all human life, all life, all human life is worth of protection in every stage of its development doesn’t make you a chauvinist. In fact, the people who are actually close minded in American politics are people who love to preach about the certainty of science in regard to our climate, but ignore the absolute fact that life begins at conception.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Marco Rubio at CPAC: Denying Gays the Right to Marry 'Does Not Make Me a Bigot' - VIDEO" »


Jon Stewart Gets Exasperated Over the State of Our Union: VIDEO

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"Water for Elephants" is the tagling The Daily Show came up with for their mockery of the Republican response to the State of the Union, and Jon Stewart is very proud of it.

Stewart did not save his exasperation for just the Republicans however, nailing Obama for promises on infrastructure and transparency, accusing him of laying out an America that loks like an “Applebee’s-laden dystopic hellscape.”

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Continue reading "Jon Stewart Gets Exasperated Over the State of Our Union: VIDEO" »


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