Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R) is set to headline an anti-LGBT religious conference next week in Orlando on the two month anniversary of the Pulse nightclub attack.
Shortly after the attack, the 45-year-old Miami native claimed he was “deeply impacted” by the massacre at Pulse last month, but the “impact” he felt has apparently worn off in time to speak at the Rediscovering God in America Renewal Project conference. The event will feature some of the country’s most vehement anti-LGBT activists, including David Barton, Bill Federer, Ken Graves and Mat Staver.[RELATED: Marco Rubio To Married Gay Man: Marriage Is Only For One Man And One Woman]
Equality Florida and other groups plan to protest Rubio’s appearance next week.
“Senator Marco Rubio continues to insult the lives of 49 people killed in the worst hate crime against LGBT people in American history,” writes Equality Florida. “Just down the street from Pulse nightclub Marco plans to join some of the country’s most vehement anti-LGBT activists on 8/11 & 8/12.”
Equality Florida adds: “Together we will make it absolutely clear that hatred and bigotry will no longer go unchallenged, especially here in Orlando.”
America Renewal Project claims the event is “about encouraging people of faith to engage in the civic arena” and adds that the “event is currently closed to the press and specific speaking dates/times are not currently public.”
“If Rubio is so adamant that this event isn’t anti-LGBT and is ‘respectful of the views and the dignity of those on both sides,’ why is the event so secretive?” asked Laura Epstein, a spokeswoman for People For the American Way.
Rubio claims that the event is not antigay: “It is nothing of the sort. It is a celebration of faith.”
“The event ‘Rediscovering God in America Renewal Project’ is a who’s who [of] some of the country’s most hateful anti-LGBT persons,” read a statement from the activist group Faith in America. “It’s incredulous a Senator of [the] United States is willing to collude with individuals who are dedicated to oppressing LGBT people. The beliefs shared by this group actively harm LGBT people. This is not the America we want. God will not be found anywhere near that event.”[RELATED: Marco Rubio: I’ll Reverse Obama’s LGBT Executive Orders, Appoint Anti-Gay Supreme Court Justices]
The Florida Renewal Project, the group behind the anti-LGBT conference, is an affiliate of conservative activist David Lane’s American Renewal Project, which hosts “Rediscovering God” conferences around the country, reports Right Wing Watch.
Lane has warned that tolerance of LGBT people will lead to the “total destruction” of the United States.
“Homosexual desire and marriage is unnatural and — more so — is a symptom of advanced cultural decay and precursor to the collapse of the Republican Party and the nation…,” Lane warns. “The mark of a decadent society is the exaltation and normalization of sin — which leads to the death.”
Rubio cited the Pulse attack as a reason why he decided to seek re-election to the U.S. Senate.
“To be using the tragedy in Orlando as a time to reflect on his Senate career, when his career and his promises on the campaign trail have been anti-LGBTQ consistently, it’s just staggering to think he would be using this moment for his own personal ambitions,” said Jay Brown of the Human Rights Campaign at the time.