POLITICS
01/28/2015 01:30 pm ET Updated Jan 28, 2015

GOP Senator Asks Loretta Lynch: Why Is Gay Marriage OK, But Polygamy Isn't?

During Loretta Lynch's confirmation hearing Wednesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) tried to take the attorney general nominee down the slippery-slope argument often made against the marriage equality movement by inquiring what the legal difference is between marriage of same-sex couples and that of three or more people.

'What is the legal difference between a state -- a ban on same-sex marriage being unconstitutional but a ban on polygamy being constitutional?" he inquired at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. "Could you try to articulate how one could be banned under the Constitution and the other not?"

Lynch, who is the current U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, didn't take the bait. She cited her inexperience in dealing with cases of precedent on the matter, and promised to "look forward to continuing the discussions with you."

The Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, the law barring the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages legalized by the states, as unconstitutional in 2013. The court found that the law violated the Fifth Amendment because it denied marriage rights to a specific class of people. Many Republicans have defended same-sex marriage bans with that rationale by raising the issue of polygamy, a practice that remains much more controversial and unpopular across the U.S.

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