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Braun walks back comments on interracial marriage

WASHINGTON (WISH) — U.S. Senator Mike Braun is clarifying comments he made Tuesday that the Supreme Court should leave decisions on interracial marriage up to the individual states.

During a virtual news conference, Braun told reporters he believed the Supreme Court was wrong when it decided Roe vs. Wade in 1973, and that the decision on whether to legalize abortion should be up to each state.

As a follow-up question, a reporter asked Sen. Braun if the same principle should apply to Loving vs. Virginia, the landmark case that legalized interracial marriage in the U.S. 

“When it comes to issues, you can’t have it both ways,” Braun said. “When you want that diversity to shine within our federal system, there are gonna be rules and proceedings that are gonna be out of sync with maybe what other states would do. It’s a beauty of the system, and that’s where the differences among points of view in our 50 states ought to express themselves. I’m not saying that rule would apply in general, depending on the topic, but it should mostly be in general because it’s hard to have it on issues that you just are interested in when you deny it for others with a different point of view.”

When asked again, “So, you would be ok with the Supreme Court leaving the question of interracial marriage to the states?” Braun responded, “Yes. I think that that’s something that if you’re not wanting the Supreme Court to weigh in on issues like that, you’re not gonna be able to have your cake and eat it too. I think it’s hypocritical.”

After News 8 asked Braun’s office for a clarification on his position, the Senator’s office sent a statement:

“Earlier, during a virtual press conference, I misunderstood a line of questioning that ended up being about interracial marriage. Let me be clear on that issue – there is no question the Constitution prohibits discrimination of any kind based on race. That is not something that is even up for debate, and I condemn racism in any form, at all levels and by any states, entities, or individuals.”

Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Mike Schmuhl called Braun’s initial comments an endorsement of “dangerous white nationalist views.”

“Mike Braun’s words and views are not only un-American, but beneath any respectable person wishing to hold public office,” Schmuhl said in a written statement.

During the news conference, Braun also criticized Gov. Eric Holcomb’s decision to veto a bill that would ban transgender girls from participating in school athletics in Indiana.

Republican leaders in the Indiana House of Representatives said Tuesday they plan to hold a vote to override that veto.