WATCH: Former Antigay S.C. Republican Now Supports Marriage Equality
The lead architect of South Carolina's constitutional prohibition on same-sex marriage now says he's had a change of heart.
Former state senator John Hawkins, a Republican who led the successful effort to amend South Carolina's constitution to forbid marriage equality in 2005, now supports the freedom to marry, reports Charleston TV station WCSC.
"I was wrong about pursing the marriage amendment," Hawkins told the station Wednesday. "I wish I hadn't been so strident against it. … I never pursued the marriage amendment for any kind of religious reason, or any so-called moral reason, or anything like that. I pursued the marriage amendment out of a sense of duty to the law." The constitutional amendment, which still bears Hawkins's name, passed with 78% of voters in support.
The Alliance for Full Acceptance, a pro-LGBT group based in Charleston, asked Hawkins to serve as the keynote speaker at its bimonthly meeting Wednesday, hoping Hawkins's change of heart would offer a kind of salve for those LGBT South Carolinians hurt by their state's official disavowal of their committed relationships.
"I'm really hoping that people are going to walk away from this with a little bit of healing," said the Alliance's executive director, Warren Redman-Gress. "It would be great if everyone who stood against us in the Senate said, 'You know, we were wrong; In fact, you really do deserve equal rights.'"
Watch WCSC's report below, and see the former senator's full remarks here: