Republican governor candidate says he wants to impose a statewide ban on gay marriage

‘Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I think a marraige ought to be between a man and a woman,’ South Carolina Gov Henry McMaster says

Abe Asher
Thursday 27 October 2022 18:52 BST
Ted Cruz says Supreme Court was 'clearly wrong' to legalise gay marriage

South Carolina Gov Henry McMaster said at a debate Wednesday night that he believes marriage should be between a man and a woman and would enforce a ban on gay marraige should the US Supreme Court overturn the ruling that legalised gay marriage across the country in 2015.

“In our constitution, [gay marriage] it is not allowed, and under our state law, it is not allowed. I would follow state law, whatever state law is,” Mr McMaster said. “Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I think a marraige ought to be between a man and a woman.”

Mr McMaster’s comments came in response to a moderator question at a gubernatorial debate on Wednesday night with his Democratic opponent, former Rep Joe Cunningham, about whether he would support a ban on gay marriage in the state should the Supreme Court act.

South Carolina is one of a number of states that had not legalised gay marriage when the Supreme Court legalised it nationally in Obergefell v Hodges in 2015, meaning that, should the court reverse that decision, same-sex marriage would again be illegal in the state.

Mr McMaster is one of a number of prominant Republicans who has suggested in the aftermath of the Court’s reversal of Roe v Wade in June that they believe gay marriage should be outlawed again as well.

Congressional Democrats, sensing the danger posed by the conservative-dominated high court, moved this summer to codify gay marriage in federal law. The House voted 267-157 to pass the Respect for Marriage Act in July, with 47 Republicans voting in favor of the bill, but the Senate has thus far not voted on the measure.

Polling suggests that a majority of Republican voters now support same-sex marriage, though the level of support varies by state and a sizable majority of Republican House members voted against legalisation at the federal level. As of 2021, 50 per cent of South Carolinians supported same-sex marriage while 48 per cent opposed it.

A majority of Americans also support the abortion rights protected by Roe v Wade, though popular opinion did not stop the Court from issuing its June ruling or a number of states from enacting abortion bans in the months since.

Mr McMaster, a former aide to segregationist Sen Strom Thurmond, is heavily favoured to win re-election in less than two weeks. His opponent Mr Cunningham, who served one term in the US House representing the Charleston area, attacked Mr McMaster for his gay marriage stance on social media in the hours following their debate.

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