Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at a fundraising dinner on Saturday for an organization that has drawn fire for its support of converting gays to a straight lifestyle.
The dinner is being held by the Florida Family Policy Council, a conservative group based in Orlando.
Rubio's headliner role at the dinner is sparking criticism among gay-rights activists, which have stepped up criticism of Rubio, considered a potential presidential contender in 2016, in recent months, following votes as well as comments against bills offering gays protections.
The Florida Family Policy Council’s online announcement of the dinner says: “Our special keynote speaker will be US Senator Marco Rubio who will be making headlines and news with a major policy speech you will not want to miss! This is the conservative dinner event of the year.”
Kiara Pesante of the Democratic National Committee was quoted in the Orlando Sentinel as saying that the keynote speech is "another sad example of Marco Rubio toeing the extremist line to shore up his 2016 tea party credentials at the expense of what's best for LGBT Americans."
Published reports say Rubio’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
The Huffington Post said in a story that Rubio, who was elected to the U.S. Senate as a Tea Party favorite, said he would abandon his own Senate bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill if it were modified to include rights for gay couples.
“It kills the bill. I’m done... it shouldn’t happen,” he said on the on the Andrea Tantaros Show in June.
The measure passed in late June, but immigration reform has stalled in the House, where conservative members generally oppose any effort that would include giving undocumented immigrants a path to legal status.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.