South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Joe Cunningham bashed Republican Gov. Henry McMaster over what he referred to as his “backwards” politics following the incumbent’s debate remarks Wednesday on same-sex marriage.
A moderator asked Cunningham, a Democrat and former congressman, his thoughts on whether the U.S. Supreme Court could overturn Obergefell v. Hodges, which gave same-sex couples the constitutional right to marry in 2015, Mediaite.com reported.
Several LGBT advocates, including Jim Obergefell, a plaintiff in the landmark case, have expressed concerns over Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion in the case that overturned Roe v. Wade in June, The New York Times reported.
Thomas said in the June ruling that the court should reconsider previous Supreme Court decisions, such as Obergefell v. Hodges and Griswold v. Connecticut, which established a right to contraception.
“Justice Thomas makes it clear, once again, that he does believe some of us are more equal than others — that some of us don’t deserve to commit to the person we love,” Obergefell told The New York Times in June.
McMaster replied that he “would follow whatever the state law is” on same-sex marriage before elaborating on his stance.
“Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I think a marriage ought to be between a man and woman, just like I think boys ought to play in boys’ sports and girls ought to play in girls’ sports,” the governor said.
Cunningham, who let out a “wow” before his response to the governor’s remarks, broke down why he believed McMaster was taking the state backward.
“It’s 2022, and Gov. McMaster wants to ban same-sex marriage. … We have politicians that have been in government so long and have become so calcified in their beliefs, and Gov. McMaster has been a politician literally longer than I’ve been alive. And he’s been taking our state backwards the entire time,” Cunningham said. “Gov. McMaster has been leading South Carolina into the 1950s since the 1980s.”
Cunningham later said he doesn’t think it’s the government’s role to get in the middle of who you are and who you love. McMaster replied that he didn’t care who anyone loves but that marriage should be a “special institution” reserved for one man and one woman.
You can watch a clip from the debate below.