South Carolina Republican Governor Henry McMaster, seeking re-election to a second full term, denigrated the marriages of same-sex couples in a debate Wednesday and said if the U.S. Supreme Court were to overturn its 2015 ruling that found a constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry, he would ensure they could not. He also took the opportunity to attack transgender children in his response.
Governor McMaster, 75, during the only debate against his Democratic opponent, former U.S. Congressman Joe Cunningham, said the state constitution and state law bans same-sex couples from marrying.
On LGBTQ issues he suggested it is “common sense” to ban same-sex marriage and allowing transgender children to play in sports of the gender they identify, with decrying how it “seems to be changing all the time.”
“Well, gay marriage is, is, it is in our Constitution, it is not allowed under state law,” McMaster told the debate moderator. “It is not allowed. I would follow state law whatever the state law is, but I’m, maybe I’m old fashioned, but I think in marriage ought to be between a man and a woman.”
“Just like I think that boys ought to play in boys’ sports and girls ought to play in girls’ sports,” he continued, despite not being asked.
McMaster, who once worked in private practice for South Carolina’s infamous racist, white supremacist, and anti-LGBTQ U.S. Senator, Strom Thurmond, added: “But I mean, there’s, you have to have some common sense in this arena, which seems to be changing all the time. But I think that the, our traditions I think are strong and I think they’re there for a reason.”
In response to his anti-marriage equality stance, The State reported former Congressman Cunningham “seemed surprised by the governor’s answer, issuing a ‘wow’ to his response.”
“It’s 2022 and Gov. McMaster wants to ban same-sex marriage,” Cunningham said. “Gov. McMaster has been a politician, literally longer than I’ve been alive. He’s been taking our state backwards the entire time. Gov. McMaster has been leading South Carolina into the 1950s since 1980s.”
McMaster replied, “I don’t care who you love or don’t love or who you want to live with or what you want to do,” The Post and Courier added. “That’s your business. But I think marriage is a special institution and that designation ought to be reserved between a man and a woman.”
McMaster has previously refused to weigh in on the issue, calling it a “distraction.”
Watch a clip of McMaster’s remarks from the debate below or at this link.
Gov. Henry McMaster (R-SC): “Gay marriage in our constitution it is not allowed, and under our state law it is not allowed. I would follow state law … Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I think marriage ought to be between a man and a woman.” pic.twitter.com/a6H6IJ3yoU
— The Recount (@therecount) October 27, 2022