Gage Skidmore

Lindsey Graham

U.S. Senator from South Carolina

10.11.20—Responds to LGBTQ voter asking about how his marriage to his husband and other LGBTQ rights will be defended, Sen. Graham defends people opposed to marriage equality as “not bigots” and “not neanderthals” and tells the voter, “I’ve tried to be tolerant.”

10.12.20—Opens hastened confirmation hearings of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court with active COVID-19 infections among Judiciary Committee members. Chairman Graham refuses to take a COVID-19 test to ensure the safety of a debate with his challenger or the safety of the confirmation hearings. Sen. Graham had pledged in 2016 that Supreme Court nominations should not be made in an election year. Millions of Americans are early voting in the 2020 election, and polls show Americans want the winner of the 2020 election to nominate the next Supreme Court justice. Chairman Graham asks Barrett how landmark rulings like Obergefell could be overturned.

10.14.20—In day three of the Barrett hearings, attempts to link the Court’s landmark marriage equality ruling to legalizing polygamy. Chairman Graham had also attempted this question and linkage in 2015.

06.03.20—Signs brief to U.S. Supreme Court to defend taxpayer-funded agency’s right to discriminate against qualified same-sex couples looking to become foster parents, Fulton v. City of Philadelphia.

03.15.19—Graham did not return a reporter’s request for comment regarding whether he, as head 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.

06.17.15—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.

01.28.15—While questioning Loretta Lynch during her attorney general nomination hearing, Graham 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?”

06.26.15—Following the Supreme Court’s 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.”

01.29.13—Graham opposed adding same-sex couple protections to an immigration reform bill, saying it would cause bipartisan talks to fall apart.

11.07.13—Graham voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would have prohibited employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

06.26.13—When the Supreme Court ruled against DOMA, 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,” he added.

12.18.10—Voted against allowing gay and bisexual people to openly serve in the military by opposing the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” The Senate voted in favor of the repeal, with eight of Graham’s Republican colleagues voting to repeal the discriminatory policy.

05.18.06—Voted for the Federal Marriage Amendment to the Constitution, and released a statement expressing his support of the legislation, claiming it was needed because, as he put it, “Traditional marriage is now under attack.”

09.13.00—argued against federal hate crime legislation, saying it was not needed and that it would “divide Americans.”

07.29.99—Voted in favor of an amendment to prohibit same-sex couples from adopting in Washington, D.C

05.14.96—Graham co-sponsored the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), defining marriage as between a man and a woman, which was signed into law in 1996.


The GLAAD Accountability Project catalogs anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and discriminatory actions of politicians, commentators, organization heads, religious leaders, and legal figures, who have used their platforms, influence and power to spread misinformation and harm LGBTQ people.