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Rubio participating in NOM robocalls against marriage equality

CHRIS JOHNSON | Washington Blade
Friday, November 2, 2012
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Rising Republican star Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is speaking out against same-sex marriage in robocalls being sent to voters in states deciding the issue at the ballot and presidential election swing states, according to an anti-gay group.

The National Organization for Marriage, one of the major groups opposing marriage equality, included Rubio in a press release as among those making calls against same-sex marriage along with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Focus on the Family co-founder James Dobson.

Marco Rubio
File photo: Michael Key, Washington Blade

According to NOM, calls will be made in both English and Spanish and will target voters “across the political spectrum who favor retaining the definition of marriage” as one man, one woman. NOM said a recording of the calls wasn’t available upon request from the Washington Blade, and Rubio’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment on the senator’s participation.

Rubio’s opposition to same-sex marriage is well known, although he contrasts with Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on the issue by not supporting a Federal Marriage Amendment. As a senator, Rubio has voted against an LGBT-inclusive reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act and doesn’t co-sponsor any pro-LGBT bills.

Brian Brown, NOM’s president, touted the campaign as “the largest national mobilization of traditional marriage voters in history” and said it would reach 10 million voters across the nation.

“Even in these tough economic times, people know that the stability of the family is crucial and the need to preserve the institution of marriage has never been greater,” Brown said. “These calls from leaders in public life will remind voters to go to the polls, to protect marriage, and to support public officials who will do the same.”

Brown predicted that Election Day will ”mark a triumph for marriage and family” as result of efforts his organization has undertaken, which include advertising and other mobilization efforts.

NOM says it has allocated $500,000 for the campaign, which involves robocalls to homes in Maine, Maryland, Washington State — where marriage will be on the ballot — as well as Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania, which are considered swing states in the presidential election. Jen Campbell, a NOM spokesperson, told the Washington Blade a decision hasn’t yet been made on which states will receive which calls and Minnesota wasn’t included because robocalls aren’t allowed there.

Fred Sainz, vice president of communications for the Human Rights Campaign, criticized the calls and predicted they would result in NOM winning more opponents than supporters.

“I’m sure these calls will be full of the last minute lies that NOM trots out during every campaign,” Sainz said. “It’s their stock in trade. But we’re confident that fair-minded Americans will reject the messages. No doubt there will be a fair number of ‘unsubscribes’ in the process.”

For its part, HRC has launched its own campaign involving robocalls to re-elect President Obama and other pro-LGBT candidates in addition to winning marriage equality at the ballot.

According to HRC, the robocalls feature Chad Griffin, president of HRC. They went out Friday and additional calls in Iowa and Massachusetts are scheduled for Monday. Sainz said an audio recording of the calls wasn’t available.

“We felt it was important to mobilize the nation’s LGBT community as well as our fair-minded allies on behalf of the president’s re-election as well as other candidates and ballot measures important to us,” Sainz said.

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