Rubio Donor and New Campaign Appointee Stand in Separate Camps

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

When one of the GOP’s top donors came out with his endorsement for the Republican nomination, criticisms came flying in not only from Donald Trump (which was to be expected) but from many others within the party.

Marco Rubio’s strong stance on traditional marriage and the family just doesn’t quite mesh with multi-billionaire Paul Singer’s huge financial push to influence the GOP’s acceptance of gay marriage.  For example, in the 2014 congressional elections, he donated $10.6 million to several super PACs with a third of the money going to American Unity PAC, a group that supports Republican proponents of same-sex marriage.

Before his critics could condemn Rubio for having become soft on marriage, however, Rubio brought Eric Teetsel to his team—previously the director of the Manhattan Declaration, a national movement to call on the Christian conscience to protect life, marriage, and religious freedom.

While Singer’s endorsement had him concerned, Brian Brown, head of the National Organization for Marriage, was encouraged by Rubio’s pick.  “Eric’s a great leader, he’s a great friend, it’s great for his campaign,” Brown said. “For us the issue is, appointments are good but we need more than just words.  We need action—for him to stand up and sign the pledge.”

Brown is referring to NOM’s Marriage Pledge, a promise that has been currently signed by four candidates to take action to protect marriage and religious liberty, such as working for the passage of the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA).

While Singer gives money to groups fighting for the exact opposite position, there is hope that his high praise of Rubio as “the best explainer of conservatism in public life today,” as well as the candidate best positioned to beat Hillary Clinton, will draw some new interest to Rubio’s campaign and to the message that he espouses on marriage and family.

Just last Friday at the Iowa Presidential Family Forum, Rubio stated that he sees the erosion of values, a direct consequence of the erosion of the family, as the greatest moral threat to America. “No one is born with the right values,” he told the crowd, “they have to be taught to you in strong families and reinforced by the faith community and in strong communities around you, so the direct consequence of the erosion of the family is the erosion of values in our people.”

While Singer’s endorsement of Rubio isn’t dangerous in itself, it would be reassuring if Rubio would back up his strong articulation of the important role of marriage and the family and his newest campaign appointment with a pledge to pass the First Amendment Defense Act.

Anna Pfaff works for the American Principles Project.