South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham became the latest Republican to support same-sex marriage today.
In an interview with local NBC affiliate WYFF in Greenville, S.C., Graham said he hoped the U.S. Supreme Court will recognize a “constitutional right to marriage equality” when it rules on the issue in June.
Graham’s move makes him the third sitting Republican senator to support gay marriage, following Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk, who both recently announced their support.
“I think it’s a human rights issue,” Graham told WYFF anchor Bruce Nolan. “Some people, they just have urges. And they can’t help it. They don’t choose it. Maybe they don’t even want other people to know about it.
“But these urges – they’re not wrong. It’s just the love of God manifested in a different way. And I think we need to recognize that love as a society though the institution of marriage.”
Carolina in My Mind
Graham’s reversal surprises some observers given that – unlike Portman and Kirk – he is up for reelection in 2014 in a deeply conservative southern state. Graham is also single, has never married, and has on occasion faced rumors about his own sexuality.
“I just can’t believe he’d do this,” says Larry Sabato, a political science professor at the University of Virginia. “This is a political kamikaze mission. I just can’t see the point of announcing support for gay marriage in South Carolina.”
However, some astute Washington watchers think his move is less about politics, and more about his personal life.
“You know that Lindsey Graham is gay right?” says a student at Georgetown University. “Like, he’s actually a closeted homosexual. This has nothing to do with politics. I think he just really wants to get married.”
Queer Eye. Straight Guy?
The difficulty Graham may have as a pro-gay marriage candidate was illustrated when a farmer from Westminster called into the program to challenge his announcement.
“Lindsey, I voted for you twice. And I like the way you put that Susan Rice back in her place. But I believe it was Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. And you won’t have my vote next year.”
“I don’t buy into any of this Adam and Steve nonsense,” Graham responded. “What if Adam really likes Steve? What if he thinks Steve is just is fantastic and smells really nice?
“What if he can’t stop thinking about Steve’s large, rippling muscles and tight, toned body? What if he dreams of taking a long, hot shower with Steve and rubbing soap all over his soft, silky skin?
“What is Adam supposed to do then? Just go home and forget about it? No. Adam and Steve should have the right to be together. Pursuit of happiness, it’s in the Constitution fellas.”
Graham has served as a senator from South Carolina since the retirement of Sen. Strom Thurmond in 2003.