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Rubio: Same-sex marriage foes face 'intolerance'

| Wednesday, July 23, 2014, 6:00 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Americans who oppose same-sex marriage often are accused of “intolerance” from those who support it, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said on Wednesday in a speech about values that appeared aimed at wooing social conservatives.

In remarks he said were likely to get him attacked as a bigot, the Florida Republican complained to the audience at Catholic University about liberals who defend abortion rights for women but not protections for “the unborn.”

While Rubio has consistently held conservative positions on abortion and gay marriage, his emphasis appears to be an effort to appeal to social conservatives who have yet to settle on a favored presidential candidate for 2016.

“Even before this speech is over, I will be attacked as someone who is a hater or a bigot or someone who is anti-gay,” Rubio said.

Rubio is trying to recover from his failed push for an immigration overhaul, now perceived as a political misstep.

Rubio helped write the bipartisan immigration overhaul that passed the Senate but stalled in the House as some Republicans balked.

Rubio did not include immigration in his speech, which focused on the merits of marriage, raising children in two-parent homes and educating them with values. But a member of the audience asked Rubio about his immigration legislation's hopes in Congress.

“I just don't see how we ever get the support in Washington any time in the next decade” unless lawmakers are convinced the flow of immigrants coming to the United States across its southern border has stopped, Rubio said. The unfolding crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border gives him little hope, he said.

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