Sen. Marco Rubio said Thursday that marriage is a key component of reducing the chances of child poverty, but said there is not enough evidence to determine whether the same is true of children being raised by married same-sex couples.
Mr. Rubio, Florida Republican, outlined his plan for eradicating poverty during a speech this week at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington, where he emphasized, among other things, that the institution of marriage decreases the probability of child poverty by 82 percent.
He ran with a similar message on CNBC Thursday, brushing aside a question about whether the Republican party should back away from social issues in order to broaden its national appeal.
“One of the greatest eradicators of poverty, one of the greatest factors of poverty, that we talked about earlier is marriage,” Mr. Rubio said. “When a kid is being raised in a married family, the likelihood of remaining in poverty drops dramatically. That is a social issue. Should we de-emphasize that, despite the dramatic impact it is having on our economy? I don’t think so.”
Asked whether that same can be said for kids being raised by couples in same-sex marriages, Mr. Rubio said, “we don’t know.”
“We don’t have any empirical evidence,” he said. “That is a new dynamic that is emerging in the country. That is being solved at the state level. Some states want it, and some states don’t. That is where it should be solved.”