GOP calls on former Democratic Party chair to apologize to marriage amendment supporters for "homophobia" comment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 27, 2010

GEORGETOWN-- The Georgetown County Republican Party today called on former county Democratic Party Chairman Jamie Sanderson to apologize to county voters that supported the S.C. Marriage Protection Amendment for calling their support of the 2006 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage "homophobia."

"Your depiction of the 77 percent of Georgetown County voters who supported constitutionally protecting traditional marriage as homophobic bigots is reprehensible," said county GOP Chairman Tom Swatzel in a letter to Sanderson.

"On behalf of the 12,473 Georgetown County voters that supported the marriage protection amendment, I demand that you immediately apologize and retract your statement."

In response to a mailer the county GOP recently sent to voters about Democratic state Rep. Vida Miller's refusal to support putting the marriage amendment on the ballot in 2006 and her refusal in 2007 to support ratification of the amendment even after 77 percent of county voters supported its passage, Sanderson said in a Saturday post on his political blog: "I don't need a black and gold mailer to tell me I live with 77 percent homophobia in Georgetown County."

"The overwhelming support for the amendment crossed both political party and racial lines. The support in traditional county Democrat stronghold precincts such as Dreamkeepers or Georgetown #3 was just as strong as it was in the GOP oriented precincts. As the former chairman of the Georgetown County Democrat Party, you have the audacity to even depict voters within your own party as homophobic bigots," Swatzel wrote.

The amendment also received 77 percent support statewide, with 829,360 votes in favor.

A federal judge ruled last month that a similar voter-passed ban on same-sex marriage in California was unconstitutional.

According to Associated Press reports, South Carolina and nine other states filed an opposition brief to the ruling on Friday to the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in California.

The amicus brief says that the U.S. Constitution does not require marriage to include same-sex couples. It also says that states, not federal courts, have final say in whether to allow same-sex marriages.

"South Carolina's Marriage Protection Amendment remains at risk from activist federal judges," Swatzel said.

Click here for letter to Sanderson
Click here for GOP mailer
Click here for Sanderson blog post