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The 8 worst things Rick Santorum has said about gay people

Rick Santorm, the former Senator from Pennsylvania, is expected to announce his candidacy for president sometime soon. Here’s hoping he changes his mind. More than any other national-level American politician, Santorum has made his name as an opponent of gay families. I researched his background and put together this list of some of the worst things he’s said. (All emphasis added)

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1. “I know it may sound like a huge exaggeration, particularly in light of the recent attack on America, but this may truly be the most important letter I ever write you… For the last year, Matt Daniels has been working behind the scenes with conservative legal scholars like Robert Bork, Princeton University’s Robert George and Harvard Law School’s Mary Ann Glendon as well as conservative leaders in Congress like myself and Congressman J.C. Watts to draft an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to protect the holy sacrament of marriage from those who would legalize same-sex ‘marriage.’… Our opposition, the Gay Rights Movement, is organized.”

2002 fund-raising letter

2. “If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual [gay] sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything… In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing.”

- Speaking to the Associated Press, April 2003

3. Discussing gay marriage: “This is an issue just like 9-11… We didn’t decide we wanted to fight the war on terrorism because we wanted to. It was brought to us. And if not now, when? When the supreme courts in all the other states have succumbed to the Massachusetts version of the law?”

- Speaking to the Allentown Morning Call, February 2004

4. “You can say I’m a hater. But I would argue I’m a lover. I’m a lover of traditional families and of the right of children to have a mother and father… I would argue that the future of America hangs in the balance, because the future of the family hangs in the balance. Isn’t that the ultimate homeland security, standing up and defending marriage?”

- Quoted in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 2004

5. “[Gay marriage] threatens my marriage. It threatens all marriages. It threatens the traditional values of this country.”

- Speaking to The New York Times Magazine, May 2005

6. “I would argue that the gay community has not made the argument. They may have made the argument as to why they want it, but they have not made any arguments as to why this is beneficial for society. They have not made any argument – convincing or otherwise, that I’m aware of – as to what the impact would be on heterosexual marriages and what the impact would be on children…. What do we know, really, about children raised by same-sex couples? We’re into, in many respects, an unknown territory.”

- Interview with The Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life, April 2008

7. “Is anyone saying same-sex couples can’t love each other? I love my children. I love my friends, my brother. Heck, I even love my mother-in-law. Should we call these relationships marriage, too?”

- Writing in the Philadelphia Inquirer, May 2008

8. “This is common sense. This is nature, and what we’re trying to do is defy nature because a certain group of people want to be affirmed by society.”

- In an interview with CNS, 2011 (excerpted here)

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What’s interesting about these quotes is their frequency, intensity and evolution. Rick Santorum has expended a great deal of thought and energy to finding new words to disparage gay marriage.

Back in 2003, after the man-on-dog comment, columnist Dan Savage became so disgusted that he started a campaign to get the word santorum into widespread usage online as a synonym for, uh, a particular blend of sex fluids. The new word caught on, and political writers now refer to it delicately as Santorum’s “Google problem.”

Today Santorum has a credible chance of being the Republican nominee for president—recently winning a glowing writeup from columnist George Will. Voters will probably want to know Rick Santorum’s opinions on taxes, defense and other important issues. But first they should ask him to account for his bizarre history of comments on gay families. I would ask Rick Santorum to explain whether he still feels gay marriage is as great a threat to American life as the terrorists who attacked New York and Washington on 9/11.

Suppose he’s a man of conviction who stands by his words. And suppose (unlike me) you agree with everything Rick Santorum has ever said. Even then: Would you really want a president who is this obsessed with this issue?

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Related post: Rick Santorum vs. Dan Savage: It’s on

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Update, January 4, 2012: Last night Rick Santorum placed a close second in the Iowa caucuses. I originally published this post in February 2011, so it’s worth noting that Santorum has not backed away from any of his anti-gay statements since then. In fact, he repeated his position as recently as last month. Let’s add a 9th quote to this list!

9. “[L]et’s look at what’s going to be taught in our schools because now we have same sex couples being the same and their sexual activity being seen as equal and being affirmed by society as heterosexual couples and their activity. So what is going to be taught to our people in health class in our schools? What is going to be taught to our children about who in our stories, even to little children — what are married couples? What families look like in America? So, you are going to have in our curriculum spread throughout our curriculum worldview that is fundamentally different than what is taught in schools today? Is that not a consequence of gay marriage?

- Answering a question at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, December 5, 2011, as reported by ABC News.

— By Daryl Lang. Filed under Politics

11 comments

  1. George Estelle says:

    “[L]et’s look at what’s going to be taught in our schools because now we have same sex couples being the same and their sexual activity being seen as equal and being affirmed by society as heterosexual couples and their activity – Yes, Yes and Yes – thanks for finally getting it

  2. Erin "QueerAsA$3Bill" Abels says:

    Im sure he was made as a joke candidate, but the unfortunate thing is if we dont keep an eye on idiots like this and we keep arguing amongst ourselves, we will under-estimate the destruction that an ignorant person like this could cause.

    I’ve already stated very only that if he wins, we’re not only moving to a differnt country, we’re switching hemispheres (IE: England)

    Cuz EVERYTHING IS SO UNBELIEVABLY BACKWARDS OVER HERE, AND THESE IDIOTS ARE TOO HARDHEADED TO UNDERSTAND THAT….therefore if Santorum wins so will England in my vote for residency :P

  3. Jolene M. Hill says:

    “Would you really want a president who is this obsessed with this issue?” You have got to be kidding! You have 8 then 9 quotes from Rick Santorum regarding his feelings about gay marriage and gay relationships over a period of EIGHT years. This makes him obsessed with this issue? I would ascertain that in the majority of these quotes, he is not even the INIATOR of the subject in question. In all likelihood, he was answering an interviewer’s question. He gave a response…now he is obsessed? There’s a pretty big difference between stating an opinion and being “obsessed.” Perhaps you should check your dictionary!

    • Jeremy Barger says:

      Jolene, he IS obsessed. I’ve personally heard with my own ears this colossal douche bring the subject up several times, each time saying something very offensive about gays. I think you should be less concerned with how obsessed he is based on interviews and whatnot, and more concerned with how bigoted and hateful this man is. It sounds to me like you are just sugar coating his evil beliefs because you happen to agree with him. Let me grab a barf bag, please.

      • Jolene M. Hill says:

        If you need a barf bag, then by all means, grab one!Since when did having a different opinion make someone bigoted and hateful? I think what is of utmost conern here is not whether one approves of gay behavior or disapproves of gay behavior…it is the biased reporting. I have become especially concerned with this lately, especially in light of the Trayvon Martin case. It is bothersome to me…that so many people rely on the media when forming their conclusions. Hence, the media has a HUGE responsibility to report facts, not opinions. In this particular case, as I stated before, someone has decided to take 8 or 9 comments (and it does not matter whether his comments were pro-gay or against gays…that is not the issue here for me) and gather from those comments that were taken over a VERY long period of time – EIGHT years or so – that someone is OBSSESSED with the subject matter. It doesn’t matter what the subject matter is or whose side you are on…for me or anyone else to make

        • Jolene M. Hill says:

          8 or 9 comments on ANY subject matter over a period of EIGHT years would not constitute an obsession! This is journalism at its worst!

  4. Lois says:

    The more i read about Rick Sanitarium (which is more where he should reside) the more I’m thinking OMB what an idiot!!! Typical republican ignorance! And people actually want this guy to run our country??? How can my marriage to a woman “threaten” his marriage to his wife in any way shape or form?? OMG really??? WOW And to compare two people of the same sex in love to inscest??? How RUDE and degrading!! We ARE american citizens!! Not sick perverts!! He is the SICK pervert to even say such things! No way would I ever vote for this jerk!!!!!

  5. Forrest says:

    I’ve lost all faith in the republican party. He says gays are perverted..look at Santorum. He’s extremely perverted just to be so hooked on the subject of gays. I believe that civil right’s with gays and women should be a huge focus on abolishing these stupid laws…Not a highly extreme ignorant president who has his nose in everyone’s pants just because he doesn’t believe in something because of his damn religion. He or Romney win the primary that will tell me something about a lot of republican voters…I am so sick to my stomach…

  6. Forrest says:

    “The fact is that more people have been slaughtered in the name of religion than for any other single reason. That, that my friends, is true perversion..” Harvey Milk

  7. @serenaluvWICKED=Twitter says:

    comparing the beauty of same-sex marriage to a horrific event such as 9/11 is…I can’t even say it, it makes me as sick and pissed off as u can imagine I’m pissed as a proud American and activist! Though he resigned THANK GOD he and ppl in office and out are still out there!!!!!

  8. Terri Bartel says:

    Oh i wish he would come talk that gay bashing shit to me! FUCKING IGNORANT BIGOT!!!

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