Billionaire investor, LGBT rights supporter backs Rubio campaign

Billionaire investor, LGBT rights supporter backs Rubio campaign
U.S. Sen. Maro Rubio (left) and Paul Singer.
U.S. Sen. Maro Rubio (left) and Paul Singer. AP (File)

Billionaire investor and philanthropist Paul Singer on Friday announced his support for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign in a letter to his extensive network of Republican fundraisers, encouraging them to follow his lead.

Singer, a Republican and father of a gay son, has over the years, used his wealth to spur GOP candidates and lawmakers to support laws favoring same-sex marriage and LGBT rights.

Singer praised Rubio’s grasp of the issues and his status as “one of the best communicators the modern Republican Party has seen,” in a letter distributed Friday to his donor network, first reported by The New York Times.

“Marco Rubio can appeal to both the head and the heart. He can lead our nation by inspiring it,” wrote Singer, who is among the most influential donors in Republican politics.

But, as the Washington Blade reports, the endorsement seems at odds with Singer’s work to advance LGBT rights. Rubio is a a staunch opponent of marriage equality and LGBT rights.

In 2012, Singer launched the American Unity Fund and a political action committee, American Unity PAC, which aims to persuade conservatives to support LGBT rights. American Unity Fund helped push for passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in 2013 and American Unity PAC sought to elect pro-LGBT Republican congressional candidates in 2012 and 2014.

In 2013, Singer forged an odd-couple partnership with progressive Democratic donor Jonathan Lewis. They each and donated $250,000 to Americans for Workplace Opportunity, a coalition group that sought to pass ENDA.

That same year, the Paul E. Singer Foundation teamed up with the Daniel S. Loeb Family Foundation to award the Human Rights Campaign Foundation major grants over three years to support LGBT rights and fight homophobia and transphobia at an international level.

In October 2014, Singer hosted a first-of-its-kind secret meeting for pro-LGBT Republican activists and donors in D.C. Among the scheduled event participants was Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin…

Rubio said Friday during a campaign appearance in Iowa he was grateful for the billionaire’s backing. “It’ll help us with resources,” he said. “Resources alone are not enough. You have to have the right ideas and the right principles.”

Rubio has previously warned that same-sex marriage represents “a real and present danger” to American freedoms, opposes allowing LGBT couples to adopt because children shouldn’t “be part of a social experiment,” has opposed making sexual orientation a protected class under civil rights laws, and has voted against ENDA.

Associated Press contributed to this report.
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