Florida’s U.S. Senate representation is bisexual! OK, not really, but there is a sort of bifurcation between Democratic astronaut Bill Nelson and junior varsity letterman Marco Rubio when it comes to gay issues. Last week, we were elated when Nelson was one of the last (sigh) Democratic senators to sign on in support of the Employee Non-Discrimination Act, a sort of no-brainer piece of policy fixing that would cost nobody any money and would make the whole country sleep better at night, because nice people do.
Just don’t tell that to former Republican presidential hopeful (we’ll go ahead and make that call) Rubio, who, once again when faced with the queer question of the day, darted directly to the recesses of discrimination, stating (via his spokeswoman) that “frivolous lawsuits could result,” and “qualifications, performance and honesty” are all that matter in keeping a job, anyway, right? That is, unless you’re honest about your sexual orientation or identification, we suppose.
But Rubio’s not the only Republican in Florida making national news for being a homophobe (far from it, actually). On Oct. 31 – BOO! – U.S. Secretary of Defense (and former Senate Republican) Chuck Hagel took a swipe at the few holdout states, like Florida, that refuse to issue identification cards to same-sex spouses of military folk in the National Guard so they can claim spousal benefits. That was supposed to start happening on Sept. 3.
It was just this summer that Gov. Rick Scott was bashing President Obama for congressional cuts and furloughs against the National Guard, so who exactly is screwing with our men and women in uniform now? Anyway, Hagel issued an official order mandating that laggard states rectify the problem, which prompted Equality Florida to issue a statement thanking him and dissing Scott’s righthand gal, Attorney General Pam Bondi.
“We applaud Secretary Hagel for ordering the head of the National Guard Bureau to take action against Florida and other states that shamefully have refused to comply with the Pentagon’s new policies regarding gay soldiers and their spouses,” Equality Florida CEO Nadine Smith said in the statement.
“By refusing to comply with federal policy, Attorney General Bondi is allowing her prejudice to devalue the service that these dedicated men and women are providing for the safety and security of our country.” Boom.