Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina says that he was disappointed by the Supreme Court's rulings bolstering same-sex marriage, telling Newsmax that the "federal government has the right to define marriage."
"The main thing is that something like marriage and the bedrock of society should be decided by the population through the political process, not by unelected judges," Graham told Newsmax on Wednesday immediately after the Supreme Court ruled against the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8. "This is an example of where something this fundamental to our society should be left in the hands of the people through their elected representatives."
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Graham said, "The federal government has the right to define marriage. The Defense of Marriage Act basically says that one state is not bound by the dictates of another, that when it comes to defining the relationship called marriage, South Carolina can do it one way, California can do it another, and, at the federal level, we would not recognize same-sex couples' benefits."
As for the Supreme Court's decision on Tuesday to strike down part of the Voting Rights Act, Graham, a member of the Senate Appropriations, Armed Services, Budget, and Judiciary Committees, said the justices "basically did the right thing."
"Over the last 40, 50 years, South Carolina has shown that we can hold fair elections and every person in South Carolina is going to have a right to vote if they're eligible and qualified," he explained. "The court put South Carolina on the same level of standing with our sister states and I appreciate the recognition by the court of the progress we've made."
Graham also commented on President Barack Obama's speech Tuesday on climate change, in which he did not rule out approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, saying, "I've been to the oil sands in Canada. I've actually been there and I've seen how they extract the oil from the oil sands region and this Keystone pipeline could create thousands of jobs for American workers at a time when we need jobs."
"I don't know why in the world the Republicans in the House and the Republicans in Congress wouldn't just push one bill after another demanding that the pipeline be built and let our Democratic colleagues vote as they wish," he said.
"This should be full speed ahead for the Republican Party to make sure that pipeline's built before the oil is sold to China. Again, we're buying oil from our friend, not our enemy," said Graham. "We're not sending money overseas, we're sending it to Canada and they're our biggest trading partner. This is just a no brainer."
Turning to Edward Snowden and Obama's failure to gain the support of both China and Russia for its requests to extradite the former NSA contractor to the U.S., Graham said of the president, "It's pretty clear that the influence he has throughout the world is almost nonexistent. And that's sad, sad for the country because we're the leading voice of freedom, and the Chinese and the Russians feel absolutely no pushback by defying the rule of law."
Graham maintained that Snowden should be "brought to justice for what he did," adding, "We're at war and what Snowden did has jeopardized our ability to defend ourselves against radical Islam. But the fact that China would send him to Russia after we revoked his passport says all you need to know about what China thinks about us. And Putin, he's a bully. And it's just sad to see our country fall so far."
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