Lindsey Graham Would Like States to Decide If LGBTQ People Count as Fully Human

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Lindsey Graham - Credit: Sipa USA via AP
Lindsey Graham - Credit: Sipa USA via AP

Sen. Lindsey Graham said he wants states to decide the issue of whether two consenting adults can get married. When Dana Bash asked him if he would support legislation codifying same sex marriage, Graham claimed it’s a state issue during an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday.

“[Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) is] trying to get enough votes to codify same-sex marriage because Justice Clarence Thomas suggested it might be in jeopardy,” Bash said. “You said two weeks ago that the state-by-state approach is the best way to go. I want to be clear about your position. Are you saying the 2015 Supreme Court decision that made same-sex marriage the law of the land nationally should be overturned?”

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“No,” Graham replied, adding, “I don’t think it’s going to be overturned… That’d be up to the court.”

But then he made the argument that the court should not have waded into the issue at all. “I’ve been consistent. I think states should decide the issue of marriage, and states should decide the issue of abortion,” Graham said. “I have respect for South Carolina. South Carolina voters I trust to define marriage and deal with the issue of abortion. Not nine people on the court. That’s my view.”

Bash next asked Graham if the court should also overturn Loving v. Virginia, which protects interracial marriage. “How many more issues should that go to? For example, Loving v. Virginia, that allowed interracial marriage, that shouldn’t be touched?”

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“No, here’s the point. We’re talking about things that don’t happen because you don’t want to talk about inflation, you don’t want to talk about crime,” Graham accused. “This is all politics, my friends. Instead of trying to solve problems, we’re talking about constitutional decisions that are still in effect. But if you’re going to ask me to have the federal government take over defining marriage, I’m going to say no.”

Bash was bringing up an issue that Thomas inserted into the national dialogue by mentioning it in his concurring opinion to nullify the federal right to abortion access. It’s also a member of Graham’s own party, Portman, who is moving the effort to protect same sex marriage through legislation. And while Graham is currently painting himself as a strict supporter of states’ rights, it remains to be seen if he’ll stand by that principal if — or more likely when — Republicans attempt to ban abortion on a federal level.

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