SOUTH CAROLINA EQUALITY AND GLAAD DETAIL ANTI-LGBTQ RECORD OF SOUTH CAROLINA SENATOR AND SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN LINDSEY GRAHAM, INCLUDING AS HE LEADS SUPREME COURT CONFIRMATION HEARINGS AND SPREADS FALSE, ANTI-LGBTQ RHETORIC

Research from SC Equality and GLAAD reveals at least fifteen attacks against LGBTQ people in policy and rhetoric from Sen. Graham throughout his decades in elected office, including while leading Supreme Court confirmation hearings he once pledged should not be held

Sen. Graham and his anti-LGBTQ record are added to GLAAD’s Trump Accountability Project, the first sitting senator to have a profile page in GLAAD’s ongoing tracking of anti-LGBTQ policies and rhetoric of Pres. Trump, his staff and now, his Senate supporters

Sen. Graham to LGBTQ voter from South Carolina, who asked how his marriage and LGBTQ rights will be ensured: “I’ve tried to be tolerant”- a claim in contrast to Sen. Graham’s record

Columbia, SC, and New York, NY – Thursday, October 22, 2020 – South Carolina Equality, the state’s leading lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) rights advocate and GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, are releasing research on the anti-LGBTQ record of South Carolina’s senior Senator Lindsey Graham.

Sen. Graham chaired the confirmation hearings of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, whose own anti-LGBTQ record and views were unexplored by Sen. Graham as the committee rushed hearings last week, and a partisan vote to the full Senate today.

GLAAD is adding Sen. Graham and his anti-LGBTQ record to its Trump Accountability Project, an ongoing tracking of negative policies and rhetoric from Pres. Trump, his administration and now, his supporters in the U.S. Senate. Sen. Graham will be the first sitting senator to have a profile on the project based on his latest inaccurate public statements to voters, his public statements as committee chairman, and his years-long record against LGBTQ people.

“Sen. Graham’s contradictions are piling up,”said Jeff Ayers, Executive Director of South Carolina Equality. “His reversals on everything from Supreme Court nominations in an election year, to an outright falsehood made to an LGBTQ South Carolina voter, to spreading lies about marriage equality as he chairs the nomination hearings, show Sen. Graham’s pattern of doubletalk and deception. His record proves what South Carolina voters likely have suspected: Senator Graham’s word is not to be trusted and his behavior is out of step with what South Carolinians deserve in the Senate.”

As Senate Judiciary Chairman, Sen. Graham displayed questionable judgment with his words and behavior, first by rushing the Barrett confirmation process as millions of Americans are currently voting on the next President and Senate. He led a process that went against his own declaration in 2016 that a nomination should not go forward in an election year (Sen. Graham: “If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said, ‘Let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination.) Chairman Graham defied public health recommendations for workplace safety in allowing members who tested positive for COVID-19 to appear in person and without a mask. Sen. Graham refused to be tested himself to ensure the hearings’ safety.

During the hearings, Chairman Graham allowed and directly spread misinformation about LGBTQ issues and people. Chairman Graham refused to ask Judge Barrett to clarify her already stated beliefs against marriage equality and the landmark ruling, Obergefell v Hodges, instead allowing misleading answers about the security of the ruling. Judge Barrett claimed it would take several steps and appeals challenges for a reconsideration on the ruling to reach the Supreme Court. Judge Barrett and Sen. Graham failed to note that more than a third of appeals court judges nominated by President Trump have anti-LGBTQ records. Sen. Graham did not follow up on Judge Barrett’s false claim that she does not discriminate against people’s “sexual preference,” when she has been a board member of a school that did discriminate against LGBTQ students and families, reportedly inflicting lasting harm on innocent children.

In addition, in the widely-broadcast and streamed confirmation hearings, Sen. Graham irresponsibly attempted to link the Obergefell ruling to polygamy, a provable falsehood and smear to the hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ married couples. Chairman Graham had attempted this same offensive question and linkage in another confirmation hearing in 2015.

As he campaigned to maintain his Senate seat, Sen. Graham appeared at a forum that was to be a debate, but was reconfigured after Sen. Graham refused to take a COVID-19 test. An LGBTQ voter from South Carolina asked: “My partner and I have been married for five years and we’ve been together for 22. What will the candidates do to ensure our rights are protected — the rights of the gay people, married in the state of South Carolina?”

“Good question,” Sen. Graham responded. “The law of the land by the Supreme Court is that same-sex marriage is now legal. I accept that ruling.”

Sen. Graham went on to defend those who would discriminate against the voter’s marriage as “not bigots”, saying, ”I’ve tried to be tolerant… I’ve tried to understand that people have different life experiences…. the law of the land is that same-sex marriage is legal and we will honor that.”

Sen. Graham’s claims of tolerance to this LGBTQ voter are in conflict with research from South Carolina Equality and GLAAD, which found at least fifteen instances where Sen. Graham actively fought marriage equality and other LGBTQ rights in his decades in elected office.

Lindsey Graham’s anti-LGBTQ policies and rhetoric include:

  • During confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, a process he said in 2016 should wait until after the presidential election, Chairman Graham attempts to link the Court’s landmark marriage equality ruling to legalizing polygamy.
  • While questioning Loretta Lynch during her attorney general nomination hearing in 2015, Sen. Graham again compared same-sex marriage to polygamy. “What legal rationale would be in play that would prohibit polygamy?” he asked. “Could you try to articulate how one could be banned under the Constitution and the other not?”
  • One week before the Obergefell ruling legalizing marriage equality in 2015, co-sponsored the First Amendment Defense Act, which seeks to create an exemption to nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people by those citing a religious-based objection to marriage equality.
  • Graham did not return a reporter’s request for comment regarding whether he, as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, would allow consideration of the Equality Act, offering LGBTQ people protection against discrimination in areas like public accommodations, employment, housing, and credit. The bill, which passed the House in May 2017, has sat untouched on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s desk.
  • Following the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, Graham released a statement calling himself “a proud defender of traditional marriage” and stressing his support for “religious liberty.”
  • Voted for the Federal Marriage Amendment to the Constitution in 2006, and released a statement expressing support of the legislation, claiming it was needed because “Traditional marriage is now under attack.” (Note, no marriages appear harmed as individual states, then the U.S. Supreme Court, affirmed marriage equality)
  • Voted against allowing gay, lesbian and bisexual people to openly serve in the military by opposing the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) in 2010. The Senate voted in favor of the repeal, with eight of Sen. Graham’s Republican colleagues voting to repeal the policy. Sen. Graham issued a statement lamenting how the vote was “jammed through” the lame duck Congress
  • When the Supreme Court ruled against DOMA in 2013, Graham expressed his disappointment in the decision, saying in a statement that he believed in “traditional marriage,” and noting he voted for the law, as well as wrote a brief to the Court expressing his desire to see it upheld: “One key point, today’s Supreme Court ruling will not change South Carolina law and I will continue to fight for and defend the traditional definition of marriage.”
  • Sen. Graham voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) in 2013, which would have prohibited employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Sen. Graham opposed adding same-sex couple protections to an immigration reform bill in 2013, saying it would cause bipartisan talks to fall apart.
  • Co-sponsored the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996, defining marriage as between a man and a woman, which was signed into law
  • Voted in favor of an amendment to prohibit same-sex couples from adopting in Washington, D.C., 1999
  • Argued against federal hate crime legislation, saying it was not needed and that it would “divide Americans” in 2000

South Carolina voters deserve to know about Sen. Graham’s full record and his current behavior as a pattern of anti-LGBTQ discrimination, especially as he vies for another term in the U.S. Senate, and as he leads a rushed confirmation process for a Supreme Court justice whose rulings will potentially affect LGBTQ people, potentially for decades to come.

About South Carolina Equality:

Since its founding in 2002, SC Equality has consistently worked to advance civil and human rights for LGBT South Carolinians and their families. Our vision is to ensure a South Carolina where everyone is equal.

About GLAAD:

GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org or connect with GLAAD on Facebook and Twitter.

SOUTH CAROLINA EQUALITY AND GLAAD DETAIL ANTI-LGBTQ RECORD OF SOUTH CAROLINA SENATOR AND SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN LINDSEY GRAHAM, INCLUDING AS HE LEADS SUPREME COURT CONFIRMATION HEARINGS AND SPREADS FALSE, ANTI-LGBTQ RHETORIC

Research from SC Equality and GLAAD reveals at least fifteen attacks against LGBTQ people in policy and rhetoric from Sen. Graham throughout his decades in elected office, including while leading Supreme Court confirmation hearings he once pledged should not be held

Sen. Graham and his anti-LGBTQ record are added to GLAAD’s Trump Accountability Project, the first sitting senator to have a profile page in GLAAD’s ongoing tracking of anti-LGBTQ policies and rhetoric of Pres. Trump, his staff and now, his Senate supporters

Sen. Graham to LGBTQ voter from South Carolina, who asked how his marriage and LGBTQ rights will be ensured: “I’ve tried to be tolerant”- a claim in contrast to Sen. Graham’s record

Columbia, SC, and New York, NY – Thursday, October 22, 2020 – South Carolina Equality, the state’s leading lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) rights advocate and GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, are releasing research on the anti-LGBTQ record of South Carolina’s senior Senator Lindsey Graham.

Sen. Graham chaired the confirmation hearings of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, whose own anti-LGBTQ record and views were unexplored by Sen. Graham as the committee rushed hearings last week, and a partisan vote to the full Senate today.

GLAAD is adding Sen. Graham and his anti-LGBTQ record to its Trump Accountability Project, an ongoing tracking of negative policies and rhetoric from Pres. Trump, his administration and now, his supporters in the U.S. Senate. Sen. Graham will be the first sitting senator to have a profile on the project based on his latest inaccurate public statements to voters, his public statements as committee chairman, and his years-long record against LGBTQ people.

“Sen. Graham’s contradictions are piling up,”said Jeff Ayers, Executive Director of South Carolina Equality. “His reversals on everything from Supreme Court nominations in an election year, to an outright falsehood made to an LGBTQ South Carolina voter, to spreading lies about marriage equality as he chairs the nomination hearings, show Sen. Graham’s pattern of doubletalk and deception. His record proves what South Carolina voters likely have suspected: Senator Graham’s word is not to be trusted and his behavior is out of step with what South Carolinians deserve in the Senate.”

As Senate Judiciary Chairman, Sen. Graham displayed questionable judgment with his words and behavior, first by rushing the Barrett confirmation process as millions of Americans are currently voting on the next President and Senate. He led a process that went against his own declaration in 2016 that a nomination should not go forward in an election year (Sen. Graham: “If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said, ‘Let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination.) Chairman Graham defied public health recommendations for workplace safety in allowing members who tested positive for COVID-19 to appear in person and without a mask. Sen. Graham refused to be tested himself to ensure the hearings’ safety.

During the hearings, Chairman Graham allowed and directly spread misinformation about LGBTQ issues and people. Chairman Graham refused to ask Judge Barrett to clarify her already stated beliefs against marriage equality and the landmark ruling, Obergefell v Hodges, instead allowing misleading answers about the security of the ruling. Judge Barrett claimed it would take several steps and appeals challenges for a reconsideration on the ruling to reach the Supreme Court. Judge Barrett and Sen. Graham failed to note that more than a third of appeals court judges nominated by President Trump have anti-LGBTQ records. Sen. Graham did not follow up on Judge Barrett’s false claim that she does not discriminate against people’s “sexual preference,” when she has been a board member of a school that did discriminate against LGBTQ students and families, reportedly inflicting lasting harm on innocent children.

In addition, in the widely-broadcast and streamed confirmation hearings, Sen. Graham irresponsibly attempted to link the Obergefell ruling to polygamy, a provable falsehood and smear to the hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ married couples. Chairman Graham had attempted this same offensive question and linkage in another confirmation hearing in 2015.

As he campaigned to maintain his Senate seat, Sen. Graham appeared at a forum that was to be a debate, but was reconfigured after Sen. Graham refused to take a COVID-19 test. An LGBTQ voter from South Carolina asked: “My partner and I have been married for five years and we’ve been together for 22. What will the candidates do to ensure our rights are protected — the rights of the gay people, married in the state of South Carolina?”

“Good question,” Sen. Graham responded. “The law of the land by the Supreme Court is that same-sex marriage is now legal. I accept that ruling.”

Sen. Graham went on to defend those who would discriminate against the voter’s marriage as “not bigots”, saying, ”I’ve tried to be tolerant… I’ve tried to understand that people have different life experiences…. the law of the land is that same-sex marriage is legal and we will honor that.”

Sen. Graham’s claims of tolerance to this LGBTQ voter are in conflict with research from South Carolina Equality and GLAAD, which found at least fifteen instances where Sen. Graham actively fought marriage equality and other LGBTQ rights in his decades in elected office.

Lindsey Graham’s anti-LGBTQ policies and rhetoric include:

  • During confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, a process he said in 2016 should wait until after the presidential election, Chairman Graham attempts to link the Court’s landmark marriage equality ruling to legalizing polygamy.
  • While questioning Loretta Lynch during her attorney general nomination hearing in 2015, Sen. Graham again compared same-sex marriage to polygamy. “What legal rationale would be in play that would prohibit polygamy?” he asked. “Could you try to articulate how one could be banned under the Constitution and the other not?”
  • One week before the Obergefell ruling legalizing marriage equality in 2015, co-sponsored the First Amendment Defense Act, which seeks to create an exemption to nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people by those citing a religious-based objection to marriage equality.
  • Graham did not return a reporter’s request for comment regarding whether he, as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, would allow consideration of the Equality Act, offering LGBTQ people protection against discrimination in areas like public accommodations, employment, housing, and credit. The bill, which passed the House in May 2017, has sat untouched on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s desk.
  • Following the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, Graham released a statement calling himself “a proud defender of traditional marriage” and stressing his support for “religious liberty.”
  • Voted for the Federal Marriage Amendment to the Constitution in 2006, and released a statement expressing support of the legislation, claiming it was needed because “Traditional marriage is now under attack.” (Note, no marriages appear harmed as individual states, then the U.S. Supreme Court, affirmed marriage equality)
  • Voted against allowing gay, lesbian and bisexual people to openly serve in the military by opposing the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) in 2010. The Senate voted in favor of the repeal, with eight of Sen. Graham’s Republican colleagues voting to repeal the policy. Sen. Graham issued a statement lamenting how the vote was “jammed through” the lame duck Congress
  • When the Supreme Court ruled against DOMA in 2013, Graham expressed his disappointment in the decision, saying in a statement that he believed in “traditional marriage,” and noting he voted for the law, as well as wrote a brief to the Court expressing his desire to see it upheld: “One key point, today’s Supreme Court ruling will not change South Carolina law and I will continue to fight for and defend the traditional definition of marriage.”
  • Sen. Graham voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) in 2013, which would have prohibited employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Sen. Graham opposed adding same-sex couple protections to an immigration reform bill in 2013, saying it would cause bipartisan talks to fall apart.
  • Co-sponsored the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996, defining marriage as between a man and a woman, which was signed into law
  • Voted in favor of an amendment to prohibit same-sex couples from adopting in Washington, D.C., 1999
  • Argued against federal hate crime legislation, saying it was not needed and that it would “divide Americans” in 2000

South Carolina voters deserve to know about Sen. Graham’s full record and his current behavior as a pattern of anti-LGBTQ discrimination, especially as he vies for another term in the U.S. Senate, and as he leads a rushed confirmation process for a Supreme Court justice whose rulings will potentially affect LGBTQ people, potentially for decades to come.

About South Carolina Equality:

Since its founding in 2002, SC Equality has consistently worked to advance civil and human rights for LGBT South Carolinians and their families. Our vision is to ensure a South Carolina where everyone is equal.

About GLAAD:

GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org or connect with GLAAD on Facebook and Twitter.

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