'Embarrassing': How Indiana residents reacted to Mike Braun's interracial marriage comments

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In a press call Tuesday, Sen. Mike Braun said the U.S. Supreme Court was incorrect in legalizing interracial marriage in a landmark case in 1967, and that the decision should have been left to the states.

Braun's comments came during an open-ended conference call with media, during which he discussed confirmation hearings for President Joe Biden's Supreme Court nominee, Ketanji Brown Jackson. That's when he began discussing what he called "judicial activism."

After Braun said he believed abortion rights should've been left up to the states in the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, Dan Carden, a reporter with the Times of Northwest Indiana, asked if he felt the same way about Loving v. Virginia, which struck down all state laws banning interracial marriage.

Read more: Mike Braun walks back comments that interracial marriage ruling should have been left to states

"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 going to be rules and proceedings, they're going to be out of sync with maybe what other states would do. It's the beauty of the system, and that's where the differences among points of view in our 50 states ought to express themselves."

Just a few hours later, Braun attempted to walk back his comments, saying he "misunderstood the line of questioning."

"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,” he said in a written statement.

Here's how some Hoosiers — and non-Hoosiers — are responding:

Mike Schmuhl, chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party

Schmuhl, who is the chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party, released a written statement denouncing Braun's comments as "un-American" and "beneath any respectable person wishing to hold public office.

"The United States Supreme Court has affirmed many times that marriage equality in our country extends to any committed couple regardless of sex, race, orientation, or religious affiliation, and to question that legitimacy questions the very fabric of America and its people," Schmuhl said.

Schmuhl went on to say that the "culture wars" within the Indiana Republican party are "diminishing" the future of the U.S.

"Democrats implore all Hoosiers to ask themselves if they want to be associated with someone as embarrassing as Mike Braun and a form of partisanship that endorses white nationalist views — because these are the same views that led to the insurrection against our nation on January 6, 2021," he said. "If Mike Braun wants to question the legitimacy of anything, it should be his own standing as a United States Senator. He cheated his way into office and consistently shows that he does not represent us.”

Kyle Hupfer, chairman of Indiana Republican Party

In an emailed statement, Hupfer referred IndyStar to Braun's follow-up statement . However, he also said he believed some rights are so "intrinsic" that they cannot be left up to states, and one of those is ensuring "racial equality."

"As for my thoughts on the issue at hand, I believe there are some rights that are so intrinsic to us as humans and Americans that the states cannot be left to decide those issues on their own," Hupfer said. "That includes ensuring racial equality in all aspects of life."

The Indiana Republican Party during my tenure has created a first in the nation Republican Diversity Leadership Series. We will continue to be a party that seeks to grow and unite and not divide.”

Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott

McDermott is a Democrat running for U.S. Senate against Sen. Todd Young.

In a tweet, McDermott called the senator's comments "appalling" and urged Young to join him in denouncing "views that should be left in our nation's past."

Victoria Garcia Wilburn, candidate for Indiana House

Garcia Wilburn is a Democrat running for Indiana House District 32 and an assistant professor at IUPUI.

She shared a photo of her and her husband, saying that "this picture should not be offensive to any elected official in or from Indiana." Garcia Wilburn is Latina, and her husband is Black.

Andrea Hunley, candidate for Indiana Senate

Hunley is a Democrat running for the Senate in Indiana's 46th district. She quote-tweeted Wilburn Garcia's tweet with a photo of her own family.

Hunley also shared a photo of her with her parents and siblings in the 1980s, calling the photo "a portrait of interracial marriage and adoption."

Ashley C. Ford, bestselling author and Indianapolis resident

Ford is the author of "Somebody's Daughter," a bestselling memoir. She's a Fort Wayne native and Ball State University alumna.

Her tweet asked how someone could "'accidentally' say legalizing interracial marriage was a mistake?"

Ford tweeted in support of Hunley, saying Braun needed to be voted out of office.

John Green, bestselling author and Indianapolis resident

Green, who lives in and writes about Indianapolis, is the author of multiple bestselling books, including "The Fault in our Stars" and, most recently, "The Anthropocene Reviewed."

Green's tweet called Braun a "disaster" for Indiana and the United States as a whole. He encouraged Hoosiers to vote Braun out of office.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY)

Ocasio-Cortez, a Democratic congresswoman, quote tweeted a video from Heartland Signal of Braun's comments and encouraged reporters to "not pretend it's normal" for Braun to say that the Supreme Court should not have legalized interracial marriage.

She then said Braun's subsequent attempt to go back on his remarks was not sufficient, saying he needed to go on the record in favor of the Loving case.

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA)

Connolly, a Democratic congressman, also quote tweeted a video of Braun's comment, referencing other landmark cases which have encountered Republican opposition: Roe v. Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges.

"If they gain power, there's no telling which constitutional right will be on the chopping block next," he wrote.

IndyStar reporter Kaitlin Lange contributed to this report.

Contact IndyStar trending reporter Claire Rafford at crafford@gannett.com or on Twitter @clairerafford.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: How Indiana reacted to Mike Braun's comments on interracial marriage