The Florida Family Policy Council announced today that it will host Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) at its 2013 Annual Dinner. The FFPC is led by John Stemberger, the anti-gay activist who most recently helped launch a Boy Scouts splinter group that will ban openly gay youth, and the fundraiser will honor Liberty Counsel head Mat Staver.
Stemberger and Staver are far outside of the mainstream, but with Rubio preparing for a possible presidential run in 2016 he may use this event, much like his speech at the Values Voter Summit, to soothe any doubts about his right-wing credentials.
Stemberger previously chaired Florida for Marriage, which spearheaded the campaign to pass a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex unions, and founded the anti-gay Boy Scout alternative Trail Life USA. Earlier in his career as a lawyer, he was widely criticized for misconduct in the Rifqa Barry case.
Stemberger has a long record of incendiary anti-gay rhetoric. He:
- Claimed that being gay is an “artificial, social construct” that is “dangerous.”
- Warned that the Boy Scouts will experience widespread sexual abuse as a result of including gay members under the age of eighteen.
- Alleged that affirming LGBT youth is “tantamount to abuse” and “an abuse to that child.”
We noted Staver’s radicalism and involvement in a kidnapping case in our profile of him for the 2013 Values Voter Summit:
Mat Staver is the head of the Liberty University School of Law and its legal affiliate, Liberty Counsel, a sponsor of the Values Voter Summit. Liberty Counsel has beenimplicated in the Lisa Miller kidnapping case, where a client kidnapped her daughter and fled to Central America after a court granted custody to her former partner. At a previous Values Voter Summit, Staver claimed that progressives are using LGBT rights and secular government in order to “ultimately implode America” and that the “agenda of the homosexual movement” is to destroy freedom and western civilization. Through his role at Liberty Counsel, Staver has:
- Argued that President Obama “does not respect America” and wants to intentionally cripple America so he can have global power and create his own personal army of Brownshirts.
- Defended Malawi’s law criminalizing homosexuality and said U.S. opposition to criminalization was “immoral.”
- Urged schools to prohibit students from holding a “Day of Silence” to protest anti-gay bullying and said teaching LGBT history in schools amounts to “sexual assault.”
- Alleged that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act will lead to child molestation, sexual assault, and even death and “harm women and children” if passed.
- Warned that the Supreme Court’s decision in the DOMA case would cause the United States to cross “into the realm of revolution.”