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Marco Rubio delivers gut-check after Pete Buttigieg attacks him for not supporting gay marriage bill

Drew Angerer/Getty Images (left), Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images (right)

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) fired back at Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Sunday after Buttigieg criticized him for not supporting legislation that would codify gay marriage.

What is the background?

Even though no serious politician is pushing to revoke gay marriage rights, House lawmakers passed the Respect for Marriage Act last week. The bill, which 47 House Republicans supported, would cement into federal law protections for same-sex marriages.

Despite enjoying significant bipartisan support in the House, the bill will need support from at least 10 Republican senators before it heads to President Joe Biden's desk. A handful of GOP senators have said they will support it, but others, like Rubio, have explicitly criticized the bill.

Rubio, in fact, called the bill a "stupid waste of time" and said he would not support it.

What did Buttigieg say?

Speaking on CNN's "State of the Union," Buttigieg called out Rubio.

"If he's got time to fight against Disney, I don't know why he wouldn't have time to help safeguard marriages like mine," Buttigieg said.

"Look, this is really, really important to a lot of people. It's certainly important to me," he added, explaining his marriage "deserves to be treated equally."

Buttigieg also claimed that Republicans who do not support the bill "say that my marriage doesn't deserve to continue." However, that is not what opposing lawmakers have said. Instead, they have urged Congress to devote resources to more important issues, like ongoing economic crises.

How did Rubio respond?

The Florida senator responded to Buttigieg in a video late Sunday, slammed Buttigieg for conflating issues that are not comparable.

"We have a Harvard-educated transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg, who apparently never learned that there's a difference between the state level and the federal level," Rubio said. "The Disney fight was a state fight because our legislature rightfully passed a law that said that we don’t want our public schools indoctrinating six and seven-year-olds in the transgender agenda, and I supported that law.

"But what I focus on at the federal level in the Senate are federal problems that matter to real people — real problems," he added.

According to Rubio, one of those "real problems" is Buttigieg himself and the progressive agenda that he advocates.

"We have a transportation secretary named Pete Buttigieg who believes that highways can be racist, who believes that $5 gas, which is killing working Americans, that $5 gas is a great thing because that means people are going to drive less or because everyone is now going to go out and buy a $65,000 electric car with a Chinese battery in it," Rubio said.

"I'm going to focus on the real problems," he vowed. "I'm not going to focus on the agenda dictated by a bunch of affluent, elite liberals and a bunch of Marxist misfits who sadly today control the agenda of the modern Democratic Party."

Last week, a spokesman for Rubio confirmed the Florida senator believes the Respect for Marriage Act is "unnecessary" because "there are other priorities, and this is an issue he’s always believed should be handled by the states."

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