Marco Rubio's Powerful Statement Against Detention of Gay Men In Chechnya

The senator is the first to use time on the floor to discuss the issue.

Senator Marco Rubio, in a somewhat uncharacteristic gesture, spoke out against the reported rounding up and detention of gay men by the Chechen government on the floor of the U.S. Senate Monday. Rubio is currently the most high-profile Republican legislator to denounce, and the first senator to use time on the floor to mention, the arrests.  

"The United States and other responsible nations should do more to ensure that all people are protected, and those who harm them are held responsible," Rubio said. "We should use our voice on the global stage to call attention to these horrifying acts and to ensure that they are condemned in an appropriate way, and ultimately in the hopes that they will be stopped."


Earlier this month, Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported that over 100 gay men have been arrested by Chechen authorities based simply on their sexual orientation. The men are allegedly being held in facilities where humiliation and abuse are common. Celebrities and advocates have publicly condemned the actions as Russian and Chechen leaders continue to deny the reports.

Rubio's statement sparked attention due to the Florida senator's previous record on LGBT issues. He has voted against amendments that would ensure spousal benefits for same-sex couples and legislation that would protect individuals from being fired due to sexual orientation. However, Rubio's remarks this week have helped bring more attention to the atrocities in Chechnya.

"Unfortunately this is not a new reality for those living under the brutal tyranny of the Chechen leader," Rubio said. "There have been reports in the past of similar abuses, although these reports seem to be the most brutal and should provoke anger in all of us. We should never, ever tolerate human rights violations against any person for their political views, their religious beliefs, or their sexual orientation."

Cover image via Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.


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