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Lindsey Graham: Compared Same-Sex Marriage to Polygamy

Withdrew Candidacy

Lindsey Graham: Compared Same-Sex Marriage to Polygamy

Lindsey Graham has been a consistent opponent of everything from marriage equality to protecting LGBT workers from employment discrimination.

Marriage : Graham supported a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. However, he also has suggested that marriage should be a state-by-state issue.

Discrimination: Graham has consistently opposed efforts to protect LGBT workers from employment discrimination, saying that doing so would be “moving an agenda” that he did not support. He voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

Executive Order: Unknown

Conversion Therapy: Unknown

Adoption: Graham voted against allowing LGBT couples to adopt in the District of Columbia.

Anti-Bullying: Unknown.

Harmful Rhetoric : Graham compared same-sex marriage to polygamy and slavery while highlighting his opposition to it.

 

Graham’s Notable Quotes on LGBT Equality

Graham Said Marriage Should Be Defined By The States And Compared Same-Sex Marriage To Threesomes. According to Think Progress: “Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) waffled on his same-sex marriage stance Tuesday night, telling CNN’s Piers Morgan he thinks states should have the right to decide marriage rights…..Despite his newfound respect for the right of gay couples to pass on property and ‘live a free and open life,’ Graham also compared gay marriage to polygamy. He asked Morgan, ‘Is it possible for three people to genuinely love each other and want to share their lives together? Is it OK to have three people marry each other?’ When Morgan pointed out that the debate was about couples, not threesomes, Graham then stated that if ‘the people’ wanted same-sex marriage, they would pass a constitutional amendment legalizing it, just as ‘the people decided’ to pass an amendment to ban slavery.” [Think Progress, 12/12/2012 ; CNN, Piers Morgan Tonight, 12/11/2012; VIDEO ]

Graham Asked What The Difference Was Between Same-Sex Marriages And Polygamy. According to the Huffington Post: “During Loretta Lynch's confirmation hearing Wednesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) tried to take the attorney general nominee down the slippery-slope argument often made against the marriage equality movement by inquiring what the legal difference is between marriage of same-sex couples and that of three or more people. ‘What is the legal difference between a state -- a ban on same-sex marriage being unconstitutional but a ban on polygamy being constitutional?’ he inquired at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. ‘Could you try to articulate how one could be banned under the Constitution and the other not?’” [Huffington Post, 1/28/2015 ; VIDEO]

 

Graham on the Issues

Marriage Equality: Opposed

Protecting LGBT Americans from Discrimination: Opposed

President Obama’s Executive Orders: Unknown

Ban Harmful “Conversion Therapy:” Unknown

LGBT Adoption: Opposed

Anti-Bullying: Unknown

 

Significant Findings on Marriage Equality

Said changing marriage to suit the “gay agenda” was against the national interest

Supported a federal constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman

Said states should be able to define marriage for themselves, while also suggesting same-sex marriage would lead to polygamy

Suggested he was open to limited rights such as domestic partner visits

Said some states should be able to determine if they want to support marriage equality

Opposed Supreme Court ruling on Defense of Marriage Act

Said states must respect Supreme Court rulings on marriage

 

Graham Said “Mainstream America” Will Insist Against Same-Sex Marriages. According to The Herald, Graham said, “There will eventually be a constitutional showdown over this issue […] Mainstream America will speak out and insist we as America define marriage as between a man and a woman.” [The Herald, 11/23/2003]

Graham Said He Did Not Believe It Was In The Interest of The Nation “To Change The Institution Of Marriage To Suit The Gay Agenda.” According to The Herald News: “U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a staunch opponent of same-sex marriages, does not believe the S.C. law would stand up in court. If any state law banning recognition of the full faith and credit clause were al-lowed to stand, it could have potential negative effects, he said. One of those could be a state declining to recognize legal adoptions from another state. ‘I do not believe it's in the short-term or long-term interest of the nation to change the institution of marriage to suit the gay agenda,’ Graham said. ‘But the constitution of the United States requires states to honor the laws of another state.’” [The Herald, 11/23/2003]

Graham Said It Was “Only A Matter Of Time” Before Other States Had To Give In To Massachusetts Same-Sex Marriage Decision. According to the Office of Senator Graham, the Senator said, “The Massachusetts Supreme Court, by recognizing same-sex marriages as legal, has set a terrible precedent. I believe it's only a matter of time before other states will have to give in to the Massachusetts decision and recognize same-sex couples who were married in that state.” [Office of Senator Graham, 7/14/2004]

Graham: “A Handful Of Liberal Judges In Massachusetts Should Not Be Allowed To Change The Definition Of Marriage For The Rest Of The Country.” According to the Office of Senator Graham, Graham said, “I believe marriage should be between one man and one woman. A handful of liberal judges in Massachusetts should not be allowed to change the definition of marriage for the rest of the country. Unfortunately, that is the situation we find ourselves in today.” [Office of Senator Graham, 7/14/2004]

Graham Voted For The Defense Of Marriage Act. In 1996, Congressman Graham voted for the Defense of Marriage Act. According to Congressional Research Service, DOMA “Amends the Federal judicial code to provide that no State, territory, or possession of the United States or Indian tribe shall be required to give effect to any marriage between persons of the same sex under the laws of any other such jurisdiction or to any right or claim arising from such relationship. Establishes a Federal definition of: (1) ‘marriage’ as only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife; and (2) ‘spouse’ as only a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or wife.” [H.R. 3396, Roll Call #316 , 7/12/1996; Introduced, 5/7/1996 ]

Graham Voted For A Federal Marriage Amendment To The Constitution. According to press release from Senator Graham’s office, “Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today voted in support of the Federal Marriage Amendment to the Constitution. The amendment passed the Senate Judiciary Committee by a 10-8 vote. It is scheduled to come before the full Senate this summer. Graham said: “Traditional marriage is now under attack. That's why I support a constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between one man and one woman. Marriage is one of the oldest and strongest institutions in our culture. If someone wants to change what marriage means, it should come about through the constitutional process and actions of the peoples' elected representatives, not the courts.” [Office of Senator Graham, 5/18/2006]

Graham Said A Constitutional Amendment Was “The Only Effective Way To Cut Off The Growing Trend Among Judges To Create A Constitutional Right To Same-Sex Marriage.”

According to the Associated Press, Graham said, “A constitutional amendment is the only effective way to cut off the growing trend among judges to create a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.” [Associated Press, 6/5/2006]

Graham Said Marriage Should Be Defined By The States And Compared Same-Sex Marriage To Threesomes. According to Think Progress: “Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) waffled on his same-sex marriage stance Tuesday night, telling CNN’s Piers Morgan he thinks states should have the right to decide marriage rights…..Despite his newfound respect for the right of gay couples to pass on property and ‘live a free and open life,’ Graham also compared gay marriage to polygamy. He asked Morgan, ‘Is it possible for three people to genuinely love each other and want to share their lives together? Is it OK to have three people marry each other?’ When Morgan pointed out that the debate was about couples, not threesomes, Graham then stated that if ‘the people’ wanted same-sex marriage, they would pass a constitutional amendment legalizing it, just as ‘the people decided’ to pass an amendment to ban slavery.” [Think Progress, 12/12/2012 ; CNN, Piers Morgan Tonight, 12/11/2012; VIDEO ]

Graham Said He Was Against Same-Sex Marriage, But That He Did Not Mind “If People Are Able To Transfer Their Property, Visit Their Loved Ones In Hospitals…” According to Politico, when discussing marriage equality, Graham said, “I'm with South Carolina. […] I believe in traditional marriage -- between a man and a woman, without animosity. I don't mind if people are able to transfer their property, visit their loved ones in hospitals, but marriage to me, I've stayed with the concept of traditional marriage.” [Politico, 3/21/2013]

Graham Said On Marriage Equality That “Each State Should Be Able To Determine The Way They'd Like To Go.” During an interview on Channel 12 WRDW, Graham said, “Well, things are changing regarding same-sex marriage, but it should be a debate among the people, by the people. And each state should be able to determine the way they'd like to go. I believe in traditional marriage, and I believe S.C. and Georgia would be firmly in that camp, but if other people want to go a different route, that's up to them. I just would hate to see a bunch of unelected judges decide such a fundamental issue for the country.” [WRDW, 3/26/2013 ; VIDEO]

Graham Criticized The Supreme Court’s Ruling Against The Defense Of Marriage Act. According to a statement released by Senator Graham’s office, on the Supreme Court’s ruling against the Defense of Marriage Act, the Senator said, “I believe in the traditional definition of marriage. South Carolinians have repeatedly said that is the definition they support as well. I have been a strong supporter of the Defense of Marriage Act. I voted for it as a member of the House of Representatives, and as a Senator wrote a brief to the Supreme Court to uphold this important law. I was disappointed with today's outcome, but respect the Court's decision. One key point, today's Supreme Court ruling will not change South Carolina law and I will continue to fight for and defend the traditional definition of marriage.”

[Senator Graham Press Release, 6/26/2013 ]

Graham Said He Hoped Supreme Court Will Allow States To Define Marriage, Said Ted Cruz’s Constitutional Amendment “Sounds Like A Sound Idea.” According to the Washington Blade: “Speaking to the Washington Blade in the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, Graham had little to say when asked about pending litigation before the court, but made his position clear. ‘I hope the court will allow each state to define marriage within its borders,’ Graham said. Graham was cautious about endorsing a constitutional amendment planned by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) that would prohibit courts from overturning state marriage laws, but expressed an openness to the measure. ‘I have to look at it, but it sounds like a sound idea,’ Graham said. ‘But I’ll have to look at it.’” [Washington Blade, 1/29/2015 ]

Lindsey Graham Said Of Alabama’s Refusal To Obey Federal Ruling Striking Down Same-Sex Marriage Ban That Despite Opposition To Same-Sex Marriage, “At The End Of The Day, The Supremacy Clause Is The Supremacy Clause.” According to ABC News, responding to Alabama state judges defying a federal court order striking down the state’s same-sex marriage ban: “Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said, ‘I support traditional marriage and the courts are working their way through this issue, but at the end of the day, the supremacy clause is the supremacy clause,’ referring to federal law and the U.S. Constitution that take precedence over state laws.” [ABC News, 2/10/2015 ]

 

Significant Findings on Discrimination Protections for LGBT Americans

Voted against ENDA, saying it was “not necessary”

Said LGBT protections would kill potential immigration bill

Supported state effort to defy Department of Defense order intended to ensure LGBT service members had domestic partner benefits

Supported an effort to add gender identity to the federal code as it relates to the issue of solitary confinement

 

Graham Said He Would Not Vote For the Employment Non-Discrimination Act Because He Thought It Was “Moving An Agenda” That Was “Not Necessary.” In 2002, during a South Carolina Senatorial debate, when asked if he would support as Employment Non-Discrimination Act for LGBT people, Graham said, “As in terms of employment, discrimination act. I don’t think I’d vote for it. I think it’s moving an agenda for, that is… not necessary. “[South Carolina Senatorial Debate, WSPA-TV, C-SPAN, 39:00, 10/18/2002 ; VIDEO]

Graham Equated Adding Same-Sex Couples To Immigration Reform Legislation To Adding Legalized Abortion. According to Huffington Post: “Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters on Tuesday that it's a mistake for the president to push for same-sex couples to be included in immigration reform, if he wants Republicans to support the bill. ‘Why don't we just put legalized abortion in there and round it all out,’ Graham said to reporters. Graham is part of an eight-member group -- four Republicans, four Democrats -- that released a framework on Monday for bipartisan immigration reform. Their framework touches on four main principles, but does not address same-sex couples, who are not given the right to petition for green cards for their partners under the Defense of Marriage Act -- even if they are legally married in their state.” [Huffington Post, 1/29/2013 ]

Graham Compared Adding LGBT Language To Immigration Bill To Taxpayer-Funded Abortion. According to Twitter, “Asked if LGBT language could kill immigration bill Sen Graham says ‘yes! Why don't we just throw taxpayer funded abortion in there?’” [Twitter, @dcbigjohn, 1/29/2013 ]

Graham Said If Marriage Equality Was Included In Immigration Bill It Would Lose His Support. According to Twitter, Graham said, “If the Judiciary Committee tries to define marriage in the immigration bill they will lose me and many others.” [Twitter, @Grahamblog , 5/13/2013 ]

Graham Said To Add Marriage Equality Onto The Immigration Bill “Would Mean The Bill Would Fall Apart.” According to the New York Times, Senator Graham said, “To try to redefine marriage within the immigration bill would mean the bill would fall apart.” [New York Times, 5/28/2013]

Center for American Progress: Graham Voted Out Of Committee “Gender Identity” Legislation. According to US News, Center for American Progress policy analyst Crosby Burns claimed that an amendment added by Senator Blumenthal limited when LGBT people could be put into solitary confinement. “This is a bill that Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) voted out of committee and it includes specific protections for LGBT immigrants […] It would only be the third time that gender identity would be included in the federal code. It is pretty remarkable,” Burns said. [US News, 6/4/2013]

Graham Stood By His State When South Carolina Refused To Issue Benefits To Same-Sex Spouses In The National Guard. According to The Greenville News: “U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham says he stands by South Carolina's right to define marriage as heterosexual only and not facilitate benefits for same-sex couples at all of its National Guard facilities. ‘I will support my state's ability to define marriage between a man and a woman, the right to do that,’ Graham said Friday in Greenville. ‘I don't know how this ends in terms of the National Guard, but to the extent that the federal government is trying to impose upon South Carolina the recognition of same-sex marriage, I stand by my state,’ the Republican from Seneca said. Graham, a colonel in the Air Force Reserves and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was reacting to remarks Thursday by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. Hagel criticized South Carolina and eight other states for not issuing ID cards at state-controlled Guard facilities that same-sex spouses of Guard employees need to claim benefits, The Associated Press reported.” [The Greenville News, 11/2/2013]

Graham Voted Against The Employment Non-Discrimination Act. In 2013, Senator Graham voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that the Miami Herald reported “would make it illegal under federal law for employers to discriminate against their employees based on the employee’s sexual orientation or gender identity. These same basic workplace protections are already afforded to individuals on the basis of race, creed, national origin, gender, and disability status.” [S. 815 Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013, Vote #232 64-23, 11/7/2013; Miami Herald, 11/20/2013]

 

Significant Findings on Rhetoric and Intolerance

Compared same-sex marriage to slavery and polygamy

Said Republicans who embraced same-sex marriage would not win more elections

Said he “ain’t available” and “ain’t gay”

 

Graham Suggested Marriage Equality Should Be Solved By Constitutional Amendment, Like Slavery. During an interview on CNN, when discussing marriage equality Graham said, “Can -- can I suggest this? Slavery was outlawed by a Constitutional amendment. Go watch ‘Lincoln,’ a great movie. […] The people decided. The question for us is who should decide these things? Should it be a handful of judges or should it be the people themselves? And I come out on the side of the people themselves. Different people will look at it differently. But slavery was outlawed by a Constitutional amendment. If you want to propose a Constitutional amendment legalizing same-sex marriage and it passes, that's the law of the land.” [CNN, 12/11/2012; VIDEO]

Graham Equated Same-Sex Marriages With Polygamy. According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Graham said, “I don't see where traditional marriage has let us down. […] You [could] make the argument, ‘Well, why not three people?’ I mean, if it's about love, then where are the boundaries?” [Chattanooga Times Free Press, 3/24/2013]

Graham Asked What The Difference Was Between Same-Sex Marriages And Polygamy. According to the Huffington Post: “During Loretta Lynch's confirmation hearing Wednesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) tried to take the attorney general nominee down the slippery-slope argument often made against the marriage equality movement by inquiring what the legal difference is between marriage of same-sex couples and that of three or more people. ‘What is the legal difference between a state -- a ban on same-sex marriage being unconstitutional but a ban on polygamy being constitutional?’ he inquired at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. ‘Could you try to articulate how one could be banned under the Constitution and the other not?’” [Huffington Post, 1/28/2015 ; VIDEO]

Graham: “Gay Marriage Is Not The Magic Bullet To Get Us Out Of Our Situation.” According to The International Herald Tribune, when discussing issues that could help Republicans in elections, Graham said, “Gay marriage is not the magic bullet to get us out of our situation.” [The International Herald Tribune, 4/17/2006]

Graham: “I Ain’t Available. I Ain’t Gay. Sorry.” According to the New York Times, when suggested he might be interested in the same sex, Graham said, “I know it’s really gonna upset a lot of gay men — I’m sure hundreds of ’em are gonna be jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge — but I ain’t available. I ain’t gay. Sorry.” [New York Times, 7/1/2010 ]

 

Significant Findings on Same-Sex Adoption

Voted to ban LGBT couples from adopting in District of Columbia

Said he did not support same-sex adoptions

 

Graham Voted To Ban Funding For LGBT Adoptions In The District Of Columbia. In 1999, Congressman Graham voted for Congressman Largent’s amendment to the District of Columbia Appropriations Act, 2000 “to prohibit any funding for the joint adoption of a child between individuals who are not related by blood or marriage.” [H.Amdt.356 to H.R.2587, Largent of Oklahoma Amendment, Roll Call #346 , failed 213 – 215, 7/29/1999; introduced, 7/29/1999 ]

Graham Said He Would Not Support Same-Sex Adoptions. In 2002, during a South Carolina Senatorial debate, Graham said, “In terms of gay adoptions, I would not support that, that would be done by the state of South of Carolina and not by us in Congress, because to change the adoption laws I think to recognize same-sex couples, would be not consistent with our state. I voted against the federal legislation that bans same-sex marriages and here’s why we did it. The law requires that every state give full faith and credit to the next states marriage law. So if a state for some reason wants to have same-sex unions and recognizes it as a marriage that federal legislation would allow South Carolina not to recognize that situation. I thought that was good, President Clinton signed the bill. So that’s where I stand.” [South Carolina Senatorial Debate, WSPA-TV, C-SPAN, 38:18, 10/18/2002 ; VIDEO]

 

Significant Findings on Anti-Bullying and Hate Crimes

Said hate crimes bills would “divide” America

Said there was “no need” for hate crimes legislation

Suggested hate crimes language wasn’t needed in defense bill

 

Graham Said Hate Crimes Bill Would “Ultimately Divide America.” According to the Boston Globe: “Opponents of the hate-crimes measure, which passed the Senate 57-42 in June, argue that it unfairly creates two classes of victims and unconstitutionally punishes a perpetrator's thoughts, however offensive those thoughts may be. ‘Prosecute people not for their motives but for their action,’ said Representative Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, during the floor debate. The bill ‘will ultimately divide America,’ he said.” [Boston Globe, 9/14/2000]

Graham Said There Was “No Need” For Hate Crime Legislation. According to the Washington Times, Graham said, “There is no need, objectively speaking, politically speaking, to have a federal crime that only applies based on the hate of the perpetrator and the status of the victim . . . every crime is a hate crime,” [Washington Times, 9/14/2000]

Graham Mocked Hate-Crimes Legislation Being In A Defense Bill. According to the Los Angeles Times: “Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) contended that the hate-crime provision jeopardized a bill that would pro-vide armored vehicles and pay raises for the troops. ‘When I go to Iraq, I don't have a lot of people coming up to me and saying we need to pass the hate-crimes bill,’ he said. ‘They do need better body armor.’” [Los Angeles Times, 9/28/2007]

 

Significant Findings on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Said that military service members were not demanding DADT be overturned

Said that overturning DADT would make the military less effective on the battlefield

 

Graham Said There Was “No Groundswell Of Opposition To Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Coming From Our Military.” According to the Huffington Post, during an interview on Fox News Sunday, Graham said, “This is a political promise made by Senator Obama when he was running for president […] There is no groundswell of opposition to Don't Ask, Don't Tell coming from our military. This is all politics. I don't believe there is anywhere near the votes to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell. On the Republican side, I think we will be united in the lame duck [session] and the study I would be looking for is asking military members: Should it be repealed, not how to implement it once you as a politician decide to repeal it. So I think in a lame duck setting Don't Ask, Don't Tell is not going anywhere.” [Huffington Post, 11/28/2010 ; VIDEO]

October 2009: Graham Said That While He Was “Open-Minded” To What Military Might Suggest On ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’, He Would Not “Make Policy Based On A Campaign Rally.” According to the Huffington Post: “Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said in October 2009 that for a reversal of DADT to be successful, there would have to be a ‘buy-in by the military.’ ‘They should be included in this,’ said Graham. ‘I am open-minded to what the military may suggest, but I can tell you, I'm not going to make policy based on a campaign rally.’” [Huffington Post, 2/3/2010 ]

July 2009: Graham Said He Would Be “Open-Minded” To Repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ If The Military Said It Had To Be Changed. According to National Public Radio, Graham said, “Don't ask, don't tell' is a policy I think has served the country well […] Why should we change it? I'm not going to be persuaded to change military policy by a bunch of political activists. If the military leadership tells me that 'don't ask, don't tell' needs to be changed, I'll certainly be open-minded to that.” [National Public Radio, 7/9/2009 ]

Headline: Graham Flip-Flops On DADT To Cover McCain: Suddenly Claims DADT Study Is Flawed [Think Progress, 11/29/2010 ]

Graham Opposition To Repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ Was “About Effectiveness On The Battlefield During A Time Of War, Not About Civil Rights.” According to Stars and Stripes, when discussing his opposition to repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Graham said the issue was “about effectiveness on the battlefield during a time of war, not about civil rights.” [Stars and Stripes, 12/18/2010 ]

Graham Criticized The Repeal Of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Vote Claiming Commandant of the Marine Corps Indicated It Could Lead To “Increased Risk Of Casualties.” According to the office of Senator Graham, the Senator said, “I am very disappointed such a major policy change was jammed through the lame duck Congress without the ability to offer one single amendment. This is truly not the way to make such a major change to U.S. military policy. Apparently, the concerns of the Commandant of the Marine Corps, who indicated repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell under these conditions would affect battlefield preparedness potentially leading to increased risk of casualties, were ignored. The Air Force and Army Chief of Staff also advised Congress now was not the time to make such a policy change. Our nation continues to be involved in two armed conflicts which have taken a heavy toll on our military. To ask our armed forces and their families to absorb these changes in the middle of two major conflicts is both unfair and unwise.” [Office of Senator Graham, 12/18/2010 ]