- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina says he does not think that businesses will able to reject service to customers based on their sexual orientation in the wake of the recent Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage.

Mr. Graham, who is running near the back of the pack in the 2016 GOP presidential nomination race, told the Des Moines Register editorial board this week that he believes his practical approach to governance on issues like immigration, climate change and religious liberty will resonate with Iowa voters and help the GOP build a big enough coalition to capture the White House.

“Plenty of good people here in Iowa understand ideology has to give way to common sense sometimes for the good of the country,” Mr. Graham said.

Following the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, Mr. Graham said that businesses won’t be able to reject service to gay and lesbian men and women.

“I don’t think you are going to have heterosexual cafes. I think that is going to run afoul of the Commerce Clause. I think the Civil Rights Act doesn’t include catering,” Mr. Graham said.

Mr. Graham warned against the GOP pursing an amendment to the Constitution defining marriage as being between one man and one woman.

He said Republicans would be better off fighting to protect “houses of worship” from losing their tax-exempt status and being forced to perform same-sex marriage if it goes against the tenets of their faith.

“If you don’t want to bake a cake for a gay couple, they are not coming into your house and making you bake a cake,” Mr. Graham said. “But if you are a gay couple and you are traveling throughout America, you are going to be able to eat and sleep and conduct business consistent with the rights of every other American.

“I am for traditional marriage without animosity,” he continued. “So I don’t know where this goes on the commerce side, but if you are conducting a business for the public at large, I think you are going to have to serve everybody if you have restaurant downtown here in Des Moines, I don’t think you are going to be able to not service someone because of their sexual orientation after this ruling.”

Mr. Graham also called for a “rational solution to the immigration problem” that includes securing the border and creating a path to citizenship for those living here illegally as long as they learn to speak English and pay fines.

On climate change:

“I may be the only person on the stage saying climate change is real because I believe it is,” he said. “When nine out of 10 doctors tell you that you are sick, why do you want to believe the one?”

And he suggested that the calls to abolish the IRS from some of his GOP rivals make for a good sound bite on the radio, but aren’t realistic.

“Tell me how you eliminate the IRS? You want your churches to lose their tax-exempt status? Well who regulates tax-exempt status?” he said.” I think you need to flatten the tax code and make the IRS smaller and rein them in. But I am not running to say things that sound good on the radio, but I don’t think can happen.”

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