Donald Trump says same-sex marriage is settled law, abortion isn’t

Donald Trump pledged to support overturning the 1973 high court decision that a woman has a right to choose to have an abortion


US president-elect Donald Trump. Photo: Reuters
US president-elect Donald Trump. Photo: Reuters

Washington: President-elect Donald Trump said the issue of marriage equality in the US is settled Supreme Court law and he’s “fine with that,” yet pledged to support overturning the 1973 high court decision that a woman has a right to choose to have an abortion.

Speaking on CBS’s 60 Minutes, the Republican said it was “irrelevant” whether he personally supports same-sex marriage.

“It was already settled,” Trump said on Friday at Trump Tower, according to a transcript released by the network for the interview airing Sunday. “It’s law. It was settled in the Supreme Court. I mean it’s done.”

Republican leaders in Congress have criticized the June 2015 ruling, and Trump’s statement puts him at odds with members of the party he now leads. He’s already broken with Republican orthodoxy on issues like trade and infrastructure spending.

Still, he stands firmly with party members when it comes to Second Amendment gun rights and abortion. Trump reiterated a campaign pledge to nominate Supreme Court justices that would overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that said a woman has a right to privacy when it comes to ending a pregnancy. The high court in subsequent rulings has allowed some restrictions, while continuing to uphold the basic tenets of that decision.

Quick nomination

“I’m pro-life,” Trump said in an interview with correspondent Lesley Stahl. “The judges will be pro-life.” He said the issue would be decided by individual states if the ruling were overturned.

Trump said he’ll move quickly to nominate someone to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February. Republican leaders have refused to consider President Barack Obama’s nominee, appeals court Judge Merrick Garland.

Filling Scalia’s seat will restore the court’s previous 5-4 Republican-appointed majority. With three of the remaining eight justices aged 78 or older, Trump in the next four or eight years may have the chance to reshape the nation’s top court for a generation.

Ask if it were “OK” if a woman were forced to leave her home state to have an abortion, Trump said, “we’ll see what happens.”

“It’s got a long way to go, just so you understand,” he said.

Portions of the interview with Trump and his family, including his comments on retaining elements of Obamacare and his willingness to make part of his planned border wall with Mexico a mere fence, were released earlier.

On the issue of his tax returns, Trump said he would release them “at the appropriate time” and said the public doesn’t care whether he does or not. The real estate developer broke with decades of tradition in now unveiling the returns during his run.

Social media

Trump said he would be “very restrained” in his use of Twitter to go after critics, though social media was a major factor in his nomination against more than a dozen Republican rivals in the primaries and his 8 November election victory.

“It’s a modern form of communication,” he said. “Social media has more power than the money they spent, and I think maybe to a certain extent, I proved that.”

Trump said he stands by past criticisms of the Electoral College system, in which each state is given as many votes as it has members of Congress, even though he’s headed to the White House because of it. Trump was one of only four people in US history to become president without winning the popular vote. The last was former President George W. Bush, who received less votes than Democrat Al Gore in 2000.

“I’m not going to change my mind just because I won,” he said. “I would rather see it where you went with simple votes. You know, you get 100 million votes and somebody else gets 90 million votes and you win.”

With absentee ballots still being counted, Democrat Hillary Clinton leads Trump by more than 600,000 in the popular vote. Bloomberg

More From Livemint