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BRIDGE BRIEFING: Marco Rubio's Record on Women

Tonight, Marco Rubio will smile, look into the camera and attempt to convince the country that a kinder, gentler Republican Party was born at some point over the past three months. The truth, however, is that on the same day he is set to address the nation, Rubio joined twenty-one of his male Republican colleagues in voting against the Violence Against Women Act. In fact, the young, fresh, exciting Rubio’s record on issues that impact the lives of women looks exactly like those of the tired, old Republicans who ruined their brand in the first place.

Americans rejected Republicans in 2012 due to their worn-out ideas that were bad for middle class families — women and men alike — not because of a dearth of hip-hop chatter on the campaign trail.

Take it from Tupac: it’s “time to heal our women, be real to our women.”

Paycheck Fairness

Rubio Voted Against The Paycheck Fairness Act, Said the Bill Was About Scoring “Political Points.” According to the Miami Herald, “The Paycheck Fairness Act requires businesses to show that wage discrepancies between men and women are not based on gender. The measure also bans retaliation against workers who reveal their wages or try to get wage information from their employers. Rubio called the legislation more about ‘scoring political points’ than solving any problems.”  [Miami Herald, Naked Politics Blog, 6/5/12]

Contraception

Rubio Voted to Advance Amendment Allowing Employers to Not Cover Specific Health Care Items and Services for Moral or Religious Reasons.  On March 1, 2012, Rubio voted against a motion to table the Blunt amendment to the Surface Transportation Authorization on contraception insurance coverage. According to the Associated Press, “In an election year battle mixing birth control, religion and politics, Democrats narrowly blocked an effort by Senate Republicans to overturn President Barack Obama’s order that most employers or their insurers cover the cost of contraceptives. The 51-48 vote on Thursday killed a measure that would have allowed employers and insurers to opt out of portions of the president’s health care law they found morally objectionable. That would have included the law’s requirement to cover the costs of birth control. Majority Democrats said the legislation would have allowed employers and insurers to avoid virtually any medical treatment with the mere mention of a moral or religious objection. Republicans argued that the requirement under the health care overhaul violates the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom by forcing insurers and employers to pay for contraception for workers even if the employers’ faith forbids its use.” [Roll Call 24, S 1813, 03/01/2012; Associated Press, 3/1/12]

Rubio Was An Original Co-Sponsor Of The Blunt Amendment On Contraception. According to the Tampa Bay Times, “The bill, offered as an amendment to a transportation measure, would allow employers and insurers to opt out birth control and other provisions of the health care based on moral or religious grounds. Rubio is an original co-sponsor and his office says he’ll vote yes today. He also recently introduced his own bill, which was more narrowly focused on the uproar Catholic Bishops raised over contraception requirements. That bill is not up for vote today.” [Tampa Bay Times, 3/1/12]

Rubio Opposed Contraception Coverage And Joked “I Can Tell You None Of My Children Were Planned.” According to Politico, “The vast majority of Americans back the use of contraception, and about three-quarters of Catholic women in recent polls part with the Church on its prohibition of condoms and the pill. But the political danger isn’t about pills or piety, it’s that the decision — made by the president himself after months of internal discussion — will be interpreted as a dangerous nanny-state intrusion into the religious freedom of Catholics. ‘This is going to hurt him not only among Catholics or religious voters … because it reflects a pattern of overreach,’ said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) who has introduced legislation that would exempt Catholic institutions from the policy. ‘I hate to question people’s motives … but I think this is certainly indicative of an ideology that the policy goals of an administration trump religious freedom,’ added Rubio, a devout Catholic at the top of the GOP vice presidential shortlist. ‘Is this really necessary? This is not a key provision of the health care bill. … Why is this a fight they would pick?’ Rubio, who opposes abortion rights, told POLITICO that he and his wife personally adhere to the church’s dictates on contraception. (‘I can tell you that none of my children were planned,’ he said with a chuckle).” [Politico, 2/2/12]

Equal Rights Amendment

As Florida House Speaker, Rubio Refused To Even Refer A Bill To Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment To A Committee – The First Time Since 2003. According to the St. Petersburg Times, “Thirty-five years after the women’s rights movement reached a fever pitch with a constitutional amendment to guarantee women equal protection under the law, the Florida House won’t give the notion the time of day. Literally. Every year since 2003, female Democrats on both sides of the Legislature have filed bills to support Florida’s ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. House Speaker Marco Rubio is the first leader in that period to decline to refer it to a committee – the first step toward helping a bill become law. Out of 2,520 bills filed this session, only 25 were not referred to a committee, not including ceremonial resolutions containing no substantive legislation. Of those not referred, only seven were in the House and the one titled ‘Equal Rights for Men and Women’ was among them.” [St. Petersburg Times, 5/2/07]