South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) said on Wednesday that he would support making gay marriage illegal again in his state, during the only gubernatorial debate for the state’s highest office. Gay marriage was only allowed in South Carolina because of the Supreme Court ruling in 2015.
“Gay marriage in our constitution is not allowed and in state law is not allowed. I would follow state law whatever the state law is,” McMaster said. “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.”
His homophobic answer was in response to a question about if McMaster would or would not support legislation removing the ban on gay marriage that’s currently on the books in the state. South Carolina was fighting against gay marriage up until Obergefell v. Hodges invalidated state laws banning the practice.
This is the first time McMaster has addressed the issue of gay marriage during this campaign. The South Carolina Post and Courier said his comments took his opponent, Democrat Joe Cunningham, by surprise, and McMaster tried to walk them back. “I don’t care who you love or don’t love or who you want to live with or what you want to do,” McMaster said. “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’s comments are, of course, abhorrent. Literally, the lowest bar of legal equality is the ability to be legally bound and get the same legal and economic benefits that straight married couples enjoy. But what’s particularly vile is that it plays into Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s opinion that Obergefell was one of several “demonstrably erroneous decisions” by the past judiciary.