Full Court Redress

Donald Trump addressed the topic of the Supreme Court's marriage equality decision during a recent Fox News appearance.

Claim: Donald Trump said he'd overturn the Supreme Court's marriage equality decision if elected president.


WHAT'S TRUE: Donald Trump lamented the Supreme Court's Obergefell v. Hodges decision during a Fox News appearance and suggested that strategic Supreme Court appointments could overturn that ruling.

WHAT'S FALSE: Donald Trump said he planned to specifically and personally overturn the decision legalizing same-sex marriage.

Example: [Collected via e-mail and Twitter, February 2016]

Trump plans to reverse marriage equality if elected president

There is a post going around Facebook that Donald Trump will reverse gay marriage rights if he is elected president. It is from Politico and stated that he said this during an interview with Fox news on Sunday (no specific Sunday posted).

Origin:On 31 January 2016, a number of social media users shared links to articles reporting that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump had sworn to overturn the legality of same-sex marriage if elected President, with a New York magazine item of that date reporting:

In what is surely a last-minute bid for more support among conservative Christians in Iowa, Donald Trump has suggested that he would seek to overturn last summer's landmark ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in the U.S. Speaking with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, Trump attacked the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision, and confirmed he would "strongly consider" appointing new justices who would overturn the ruling, since he believes it should have been a states’-rights issue[.]

Donald Trump indeed appeared on Fox News Sunday with interviewer Chris Wallace on 31 January 2016 and briefly discussed the Supreme Court's landmark 5-4 Obergefell v. Hodges decision in 2015. A record of that discussion is available via a transcript provided by Fox:

WALLACE: But, Mr. Trump, let's take one issue.  You say now that the Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex marriage is the law of the land and that any politician who talks about wanting to amend the Constitution is just playing politics.  Are you saying it's time to move on?

TRUMP: No, I'm saying this.  It has been ruled up.  It has been there.  If I'm a, you know, if I'm elected, I would be very strong on putting certain judges on the bench that I think maybe could change things.

But they've got a long way to go.  I mean at some point, we have to get back down to business.  But there's no question about it.  I mean most — and most people feel this way.

They have ruled on it.  I wish that it was done by the state.  I don't like the way they ruled.  I disagree with the Supreme Court from the standpoint they should have given the state — it should be a states' rights issue.  And that's the way it should have been ruled on, Chris, not the way they did it.

This is a very surprising ruling.  And I — I can see changes coming down the line, frankly.  But I would have much preferred that they ruled at a state level and allowed the states to make those rulings themselves.

WALLACE: But — but just to button this up very quickly, sir, are you saying that if you become president, you might try to appoint justices to overrule the decision on same-sex marriage?

TRUMP: I would strongly consider that, yes.

Interviewer Chris Wallace initially questioned Trump about a statement made by the latter suggesting that he was disinterested in any sort of Republican party line opposing same-sex marriage because the issue had already been definitively decided by the Supreme Court. In response, Trump said the opposite: that he felt the matter of same-sex marriage should have been left to individual states to decide, and that he would "be very strong on putting certain judges on the bench that I think maybe could change things."

When Wallace questioned if Trump truly meant that he "might try to appoint justices to overrule the decision on same-sex marriage," the candidate responded by affirming that he "would strongly consider that."

Trump was clearly courting a political base with his answer about reversing the legality of same-sex marriage, but when asked if he planned to pursue such a course of action, Trump said only that he'd "consider it" (which is Trump's stock answer to a plethora of policy issues: a non-committal assurance that he will "look into" or "consider" a potential course of action). Trump himself didn't raise the issue or insist he would specifically do anything about it; he responded to a direct question by suggesting that something could be done and that he would think about it.

Last updated: 01 February 2016

Originally published: 01 February 2016


Wallace, Chris.    "Ted Cruz Attacks Donald Trump's Financial Record; Trump Responds."
FoxNews.com.   31 January 2016.

Danner, Chas.   "Donald Trump Would 'Strongly Consider' Overturning Same-Sex Marriage."
New York.   31 January 2016.

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