Marco Rubio raising money for group that tries to turn gay people straight

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Sen. Marc Rubio, R-Fla.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a possible presidential candidate in 2016, will deliver the keynote address at the annual fundraiser for the Florida Family Policy Council, a prominent social conservative organization that promotes discredited “conversion therapy” to help LGBT individuals become straight, Salon reported.

The Nov. 16 fundraising dinner honors Mat Staver, an ardent anti-gay activist who is suing New Jersey GOP Gov. Chris Christie for signing a law banning gay-to-straight conversion therapy and has said that teaching gay rights in school is tantamount to “sexual assault.”

John Stemberger, the Florida Family Policy Council’s president, also is an anti-gay activist. He is chairman of Trail Life, the “moral alternative” to the Boy Scouts of America, which recently lifted its ban on gay Scouts. Trail Life won’t accept openly gay boys as members, but offers counseling services to youth who suffer from “gender confusion.”

“We’re not going to tolerate somebody who’s, you know, here and queer, loud and proud, all of that nonsense,” Stemberger told social-conservative radio host Janet Mefferd.

Staver also has a history of making incendiary claims about gays. In June, he claimed the passage of the Employee Non-Discrimination Act, which prohibits employers form discriminating against LGBT employees and applicants, would “result in significant damage and even death of some of the individuals.”

After the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in June, Staver suggested the decision would bring the nation closer to “the realm of rebellion.”

—  Steve Ramos

WATCH: Which one of Rick Perry’s anti-gay co-chairs in Florida is a bigger nutjob?

Pam Olsen

The other day we told you how John Stemberger, co-chair of Rick Perry’s leadership team for this week’s GOP presidential straw poll in Florida, once compared same-sex marriage to suicide (prompting one of our Twitter followers to quip, “It certainly has been for my sex life!”) But all joking aside, it turns out Perry’s other co-chair in Florida, though not as well known, appears to be just as crazy. Right Wing Watch reports that Pam Olsen heads the Tallahassee branch of the International House of Prayer, which helped put together Perry’s day of prayer in Houston in August . In July, Olsen said denominations that have allowed same-sex marriage and gay clergy are likely to blame for recent natural disasters:

“If anybody looks at the news and has just seen what’s been happening recently with the floods, the fires, the tornadoes, God is shaking. Yeah I think you have God shaking, sure you have the Enemy shaking, you have both and I don’t want to say oh that’s the judgment of God or that’s the Enemy. But the reality is God is judging us, and I think it’s going to get worse.”

As Mother Jones points out, it’s unclear why God would punish Texas with wildfires given Perry’s extreme anti-gay views.

Watch video of Olsen’s remarks below.

—  John Wright

Gov. Rick Perry’s co-chair for Florida straw poll once compared gay marriage to suicide

John Stemberger

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has named anti-gay figure John Stemberger as co-chair of his leadership team for a GOP presidential straw poll in Florida later this week, according to Sarah Posner at Religion Dispatches.

Stemberger is president of the Florida Family Policy Council, an affiliate of Focus on the Family, an anti-gay hate group. In 2008 Stemberger was chairman of the group that led efforts to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in the Sunshine State.

Stemberger has indicated that he supports Perry because former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney “wasn’t Mormon enough,” which presumably means that Romney isn’t socially conservative enough.

Via Jeremy Hooper at Good As You, below is video of Stemberger comparing same-sex marriage to suicide during the 2008 amendment battle in Florida.

—  John Wright