Election 2024

GOP governor says he’s against LGBTQ people getting married

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) during a debate with Dem. opponent Joe Cunningham
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) during a debate with Dem. opponent Joe Cunningham Photo: Screenshot

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) affirmed his opposition to marriage equality in a recent debate with his Democratic opponent Joe Cunningham.

While speaking out against the rights of LGBTQ couples, he also managed to slip in a dig at trans youth.

“Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I think marriage ought to be between a man and a woman, just like I think boys ought to play in boys’ sports and girls ought to play girls’ sports,” he said in Wednesday night’s debate, as reported by The Post and Courier.

When Cunningham emphasized the opposite belief – declaring, “I don’t care who you are or who you love [and] I don’t think it’s government’s role to be getting in the middle of that” – McMaster claimed that he also doesn’t care who anybody loves or how they want to live their lives.

“That’s your business,” he said. “But I think marriage is a special institution and that designation ought to be reserved between a man and a woman.”

The conversation came about due to the possibility that the Supreme Court could consider overturning Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that legalized marriage equality nationwide.

McMaster was asked whether he would support current South Carolina law, which has had a same-sex marriage ban on the books for 26 years. In 2007, the public voted to add the ban to the state constitution – something McMaster campaigned for at the time as attorney general.

In the debate, he was also asked whether he’d support allowing citizens to vote on the matter again, as many would likely vote differently today.

“Gay marriage in our constitution is not allowed and in state law is not allowed,” McMaster said. “I’d follow state law whatever the state law is.”

Last year, McMaster also called for the removal of an LGBTQ book – the award-winning Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe – from the state’s public schools, declaring it to be “obscene” and “pornographic.”

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