In Orlando, Marco Rubio calls on evangelicals to reach out to LGBT community

Tue. August 16, 2016 9:38 AM by Carlos Santoscoy

During an appearance Friday in Orlando, Florida, Senator Marco Rubio called on evangelicals to reach out to the LGBT community.

Rubio and Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president, had been criticized for taking part in the two-day event, part of the American Renewal Project's "Rediscovering God" campaign. Many who spoke at the conference, such as Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel, strongly oppose LGBT rights. Critics also pointed out that Friday was the second month anniversary of the mass shooting in an Orlando gay nightclub that left 49 people dead and injured dozens more.

In his speech, Rubio reiterated his support for "traditional marriage," but also called on his audience to love their LGBT neighbor as the Bible teaches.

"In order to love people you have to listen to them," Rubio said. "You have to understand their perspective, their hope and their dreams and their fears and their pain. When it comes to our brothers and our sisters, our fellow Americans, our neighbors in the LGBT community, we should recognize that our nation, while the greatest nation in the history of mankind, is one whose history has been marred by discrimination against and the rejection of gays and lesbians."

"To love our neighbors in the LGBT community we should recognize that even as we stand firm in the belief that marriage is the union between one man and one woman, there are those in that community in same-sex relationships whose love for one another is real, and who feel angry and humiliated that the law did not recognize their relationship as a marriage."

"And I want to be clear with you: Abandoning judgment and loving our LGBT neighbors is not a betrayal of what the Bible teaches – it is a fulfillment of it. Jesus showed us how to do this. Jesus showed us that we do not have to endorse what people do in order to accept them for who they are: children of a loving and a merciful God," he said.

Rubio added that Americans like himself "who support keeping the definition of traditional marriage" have a right to their views.

Article provided in partnership with On Top Magazine