Hit & Run

Lindsey Graham: GOP Needs to Drop Anti-Gay Marriage Constitutional Amendment from Platform

Says he'd defend religious freedom as president


U.S. Senate

S.C. Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of more than a dozen Republicans running for president, told NBC's Meet the Press this morning that he believed the GOP should drop a plank supporting a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman from its national platform.

Via NBC News:

"What I want to do is protect the religious liberties of those who believe that opposing same sex marriage as part of their faith. So no I would not engage in the Constitutional amendment process as a party going into 2016. Accept the Court's ruling. Fight for the religious liberties of every American."

Graham says not changing the platform would hurt Republicans' prospects in 2016. Graham was already staking out this position on the day of the gay marriage ruling, when he said he would respect the Supreme Court' decision as president. Not every Republican candidate has said so—and not every president (including this one) has respected every decision to come out of the Supreme Court

For Graham, the Republican focus should shift to protecting religious liberties—something the ACLU said it would stop doing. "Rather than pursing a divisive effort that would be doomed to fail, I am committing myself to ensuring the protection of religious liberties of all Americans," he said on Friday, according to the Washington Times. "No person of faith should ever be forced by the federal government to take action that goes against his or her conscience or the tenets of their religion."

As president, Graham said he would "staunchly defend religious liberty" and "devote the necessary federal resources to the protection of all Americans from any effort to hinder the free and full exercise of their rights." It was time, Graham said, for the country to "move forward together respectfully and as one people.