Rubio explains his vote on disabilities treaty

In a letter posted Tuesday on Marco Rubio’s Senate website, the Florida senator wrote the followingmarco rubio:

My Vote on the “Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”

My late grandfather was one of the most influential people in my life. Until his death when I was 13, “Papá” was a mentor who spent countless hours on our front porch with me discussing history, politics and baseball. As a Cuban immigrant, he knew how special America is, and it’s one lesson from him that I will never forget.

Papá was also my hero for the way he lived his life. Stricken by polio as a boy, he would be disabled for the rest of his life.  He would often walk miles to work at a cigar factory to provide for his family. Because of his disability, walking was difficult for him and he would often return home at night with his clothes dirty from repeatedly falling to the ground.  But he kept getting up, and lived a life that I admire and will never forget.  Because of him, I knew from a very early age the inherent dignity and beauty evident in every disabled human being on earth, whether they were born with their disability or developed it in the course of their lives.

The landmark Americans With Disabilities Act enshrined into law many fundamental rights to help disabled people live better lives.  As Americans, it should make us all proud because it is one reason the United States has set the gold standard in the world for disability rights.  It has helped demonstrate to everyone else one more dimension of our exceptional people, by ensuring that our disabled brothers and sisters have better opportunities to rise above their physical limitations to stake their claim on the American Dream.

As the Senate considers the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities today, it’s important to note that a failure to approve it would in no way diminish what we have accomplished in America on disability rights, just as its passage would not improve the laws affecting Americans with disabilities.  Furthermore, nothing on this treaty compels other nations to raise their standards or in any way improve the care they afford to persons with disabilities.  Therefore, I stand in opposition of its ratification today.

The treaty’s supporters have argued that its passage will elevate disability rights abroad, to the benefit of disabled people not fortunate enough to live under laws like ours and also to disabled Americans when they travel. However, the United States already promotes disabled rights and better laws abroad through the State Department and our foreign embassies.  The Americans With Disabilities Act (and subsequent improvements to it) should be the law upon which other countries base their own laws protecting their disabled people and aiming to make their lives better.

I believe America’s example should lead the way on achieving stronger universal disability rights instead of the United Nations, the governing body entrusted to oversee this treaty’s implementation. The American example of millions of disabled Americans living their dreams is a stronger force to compel other countries to do the same than a United Nations body populated by such chronic human rights abusers as China and Russia, nations that fail to respect the fundamental rights of everyone, much less their disabled.

When this treaty was originally negotiated, a bipartisan consensus existed that this treaty would not address abortion. This is an appropriate position when you consider that, too often, unborn children in the United States and across the world are aborted because their disabilities have been detected while in the womb. When the Senate Foreign Relations Committee debated this issue in July, I offered an amendment to make clear this Convention does not create, endorse or promote abortion rights as reproductive health.  I made clear its intent was not to change U.S. domestic laws on this matter. All my proposed change did was state very clearly that, at the end of the day, this Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is about protecting persons with disabilities, regardless of their stage in life.  Because this important change was not adopted and for all the reasons I’ve outlined here, I cannot support Senate ratification of this treaty.



8 thoughts on “Rubio explains his vote on disabilities treaty

  1. Anthony Salvatore says:

    I agree with your position 100%. Keep up the good work. Stand for your principles.

    1. Mary Diaz says:

      Hes the man in 2016

  2. Kelly says:

    Good job, Senator!

  3. L Finch says:

    Thank you for listening to us Senator Rubio. Now, please comment on how Agenda 21, found at, and this treaty are connected.

  4. Ron Sinzdak says:

    Senator Rubio, your claim that this treaty will not elevate disability rights abroad indicates to me that you don't trust the 126 nations which have signed the treaty to carry out their promise to raise disability standards to US levels. What facts do you have in your possession to warrant such an assumption on your part? In light of the fact that the United States is constantly trying to impose its values on the rest of the world through needless interventions of various kinds, isn't it rather odd that, given the opportunity to impose a standard of such great benefit to so many people like your grandfather, it ays no. Your rejection makes no sense to me. With all due respect, I find your argument weak.

  5. Roy Johnson says:

    The repubs are talking Rubio for Prez he should first earn to be a good Senator. He has a voting record for NO second to none. Witnessing his appearance in the Senate Chamber to vote on a continuing legislation vote on Daniel Inoyne's comments he come in raised his hand and put thumb down and left. I couldn't figure out where his fire was on to find him 30 minuets later on CNN. Face time more important than work time perhaps it should be Rubio out in 2016!

  6. Gareth Goetsch says:

    Another disgruntled Republican who will not admit defeat and will continue to vote no.

Comments are closed.

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