Sen. Braun Comments on Interracial Marriage and State's Rights

Which legislative issues should federalism (states rights) accommodate, and which should the federal government's power be expanded to? Senator Braun of Indiana weighed in on the state's rights issue yesterday while discussing interracial marriage and abortion with a reporter. In the midst of Ketanji Brown Jackson's Senate confirmation hearings, he was interviewed about the justice and judiciary issues. Like most Republicans, he took the stance that states, rather than the federal courts, should control most aspects of abortion policy. When asked if his commitment to states’ rights would extend to letting legislators and governors ban interracial marriage, his answer was a resounding "yes."

Abortion was federally legalized in 1973 with Roe v. Wade (7-2) and interracial marriage in 1967 with Loving v. Virginia (9-0). Sen. Braun said that since he wants abortion rights to be turned back to the states, that should extend to interracial marriage too, “If you’re not wanting the Supreme Court to weigh in on issues like [abortion], you’re not going to be able to have your cake and eat it, too. I think that’s hypocritical.” Later that day he walked back the comments, claiming that he misunderstood the question and, "condemn[s] racism in any form, at all levels, and by any states, entities, or individuals.”

Although we may enjoy the policies of our own states for different reasons, it must be acknowledged that the constitution and federal jurisdiction exists to affirm fundamental rights all citizens enjoy -- in this case, the constitutional right to marriage equality regardless of race, gender, orientation, or religion.