States Should Decide on Same-Sex Marriage, Sen. Graham Says

U.S. states, and not the federal government, should decide whether same-sex marriage should be legally recognized, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on Aug. 7.

Graham’s comments came during a panel discussion on CNN’s “State of the Union” after H.R. 8404, the proposed Respect for Marriage Act, was approved on July 19 by the House of Representatives in a 267–157 vote, with the backing of 47 Republicans. The legislation is pending in the 50–50 Senate, where it’s expected to have the support of Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Susan Collins (R-Maine).

Among the Republicans voting for the measure were House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) and Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), who chairs the conservative House Freedom Caucus. Voting “no” were House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.).

The legislation would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a 1996 law that defined marriage as the union between one man and one woman, and allowed states to refuse to accept same-sex marriages recognized under other states’ laws. After then-President Bill Clinton signed DOMA, about 40 states banned same-sex marriage. DOMA was found to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), a ruling that held that the 14th Amendment requires states to license and recognize same-sex marriage.

The new legislation would also codify the Obergefell ruling.

Respect for Marriage Act supporters say the measure is needed because the Supreme Court’s June 24 decision overturning the 1973 abortion precedent case Roe v. Wade potentially opened the door to the future reversal of Obergefell by the court.

Although Graham said he doesn’t think the Supreme Court would actually reverse Obergefell, he said neither the court nor the federal government should be deciding the issue of same-sex marriage for the entire nation.

“I’ve been consistent. I think

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