I like Marco Rubio. I really do. But did you see his remarks at CPAC today? If not, you can watch above. There was a brief moment that may have gone unnoticed by many viewers and by those in attendance. It was a subtle turn of phrase that I believe indicates a pretty momentous shift on the issue of marriage. Here’s the sentence:
Just because I believe that states should have the right to define marriage in the traditional way does not make me a bigot. [at 4:40 above]
Did you see it? At first blush it sounds like a pro-traditional marriage statement. And at one level it is. I’m certain Rubio believes in traditional marriage. But at the level of public policy, he is beating a retreat. This statement implies that marriage is not a matter for the federal government to be involved in, but a matter for the states. This is no different than the libertarian approach on marriage. It allows him to be personally opposed to same-sex marriage while doing nothing to prevent it at the federal level. In essence, he is positioning himself against the 2012 GOP platform on the issue of marriage.
What does this mean? I think it means that 2012 was the last time the GOP will ever run a presidential candidate who opposes gay marriage at the level of public policy. Those days are behind us. Rubio’s remarks only confirm that.