Rubio: Constitutionally ‘Valid’ For People to Refuse Service to Gay Marriages

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) said that he believes people who don’t want to provide services for same-sex marriages on religious grounds have “a valid constitutional concern,” and that it shouldn’t be legal “to deny someone service at a restaurant or at a hotel because of their sexual orientation” on Monday’s broadcast of “The Five” on the Fox News Channel.

Rubio was initially asked if he would support adding sexual orientation to the Civil Rights Act, to which he responded “I haven’t heard that proposal before, and therefore don’t fully understand how something like that would work.”

Rubio continued, “I don’t think Americans want to discriminate against anyone. I think the fundamental question of some of these laws is should someone be discriminated against because of their religious views? So, no one here is saying it should be legal to deny someone service at a restaurant or at a hotel because of their sexual orientation, I think that’s a consensus view in America. The flip side of it is, though, should a photographer be punished for refusing to do a wedding that their faith teaches them is — not one that is valid in the eyes of God? And so I think these laws are trying to get at that, obviously it’s raised a lot of debate in America about how far these laws [go] and what implications they would have, and it’s a difficult debate to have for a lot of people. But I think the flip side of all of this debate is what about the religious liberties of Americans who do not want to feel compelled by law to provide a catering service or a photography service to a same-sex marriage that their faith teaches is wrong? And — that’s a valid constitutional concern as well.”

Rubio was then questioned on whether people who were opposed to interracial marriage on religious grounds would be allowed to refuse service for an interracial marriage, and he said “that’s not the same thing, because here you’re talking about a definition of an institution, not the — innate value of a single human being. That’s the difference between the Civil Rights movement and the marriage equality movement. But I would go further and say that the issue we’re talking about here is, should someone who provides a professional service be punished by the law because they refuse to provide that professional service to a ceremony that they believe is in violation of their faith? I think people have a right to live out their religious in their own lives, they can’t impose it on you in your life, but they have a right to live it out in their own lives, and when you’re asking someone who provides professional services to do something or be punished by law, that violates their faith, you’re violating that religious liberty that they have.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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