So Just How Homophobic and Scary Is Rick Santorum?
I want to take a brief moment to highlight just how homophobic Rick Santorum really is. Because he was thought of as such a marginal or fringe candidate, he hasn’t generated much attention. But now that Pawlenty, Cain, Bachmann, Perry, and Gingrich have each had their moment in the spotlight before either quitting or flaming out, the spotlight has finally begun to focus on Rick Santorum. And the truth ain’t pretty.
So just how homophobic is Rick Santorum? Well, just a few days ago, he said, “even fathers in jail who had abandoned their kids, were still better than no father at all to have in their childrens’ lives” while allowing gays to raise children was “robbing children of something they need, they deserve, they have right to”. Think about that for a moment. A child is better off with a father, in jail, who had abandoned the child, than two parents of the same sex. I don’t even want to ponder what exactly the “right” to two heterosexual parents really means (can a kid sue to force a parent to be involved in the kid’s life; can a kid use the courts to force his parents to marry?). Or, consider this:
Santorum argued that gay people shouldn’t have the “privilege” of enlisting in the armed forces or marrying because “we decide what’s in the best interest of our national security” and what kind of relationships are best for society. “It’s not discrimination not to grant privileges. It’s discrimination to deny rights,” he explained. “Everyone has a right to live their life, that doesn’t mean that they’re entitled to certain privileges that society gives for certain benefits that society obtains from those relationships.” Santorum has pledged to reinstate Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and annul all same-sex marriages.
I don’t want to get into the weeds of Santorum’s arguments; but query, on the basis of his explanation of the societal good of marriage in regards to kids, why we permit infertile people or those who don’t want to have children to marry? And note the specter of “other kinds” of evils that would be brought about, he suggests, should gays be allowed to marry. I presume that this is an offhand reference to his red-herring fear that same-sex marriage will lead to polygamy, bestiality, and who knows what else (and for those who don’t know, it was his comparison of homosexuality to bestiality back in 2003 that resulted in Santorum’s so-called “Google problem”; if you’re unfamiliar with that problem, try Googling the word “Santorum” but be careful of who is looking over your shoulder…).
Now note that Santorum doesn’t just oppose same-sex marriage. He doesn’t just argue that we should have a Constitutional amendment to stop same-sex marriages (what happened to state’s rights?). Nope. Not good enough. He thinks that the Constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages should also be read to annul existing same-sex marriages recognized by certain states. Now those are family values! And what about the kids of those same-sex marriages? What about their rights?
And a few more quick notes about Santorum’s ideas. He thinks that the way to be economically successful, is simply to graduate from high school, get married, and have kids:
Number one, graduate from high school. Number two, get married. Before you have children," he said. "If you do those two things, you will be successful economically. What does that mean to a society if everybody did that? What that would mean is that poverty would be no more. If you want to have a strong economy, there are two basic things we can do.
He’s even phrased it this way (emphasis added): “There are two things in this country that will assure you of never being poor — graduating from high school and getting married.” Hmm. I think that there are plenty of Americans who graduated from high school and got married but who are still poor. Santorum may have been relying on a 2009 study from the Brookings Institute as the basis of his statements. But guess what? He left out the step between graduating and getting married: acquire a full-time job.
Santorum also believes that we need to cut social security benefits. Now. If you depend on your social security check, how in favor of cutting those benefits would you be? And would your answer change if those who can afford high taxes aren’t asked to pay more?
Finally, the folks over at Think Progress have put together some great lists of outrageous statements by Santorum (I’m including them here just in case the links go bad):
1) ANNUL ALL SAME-SEX MARRIAGES: Arguing that gay relationships “destabilize” society, Santorum wouldn’t offer any legal protections to gay relationships and has pledged to annul all same-sex marriages if elected president. During his 99-country tour of Iowa, Santorum frequently compared same-sex relationships to inanimate objects like trees, basketballs, beer, and paper towels and even tried to blame the economic crisis on gay people. As Santorum explained back in August, religious people have a constitutional right to discriminate against gays: “We have a right the Constitution of religious liberty but now the courts have created a super-right that’s above a right that’s actually in the Constitution, and that’s of sexual liberty. And I think that’s a wrong, that’s a destructive element.”
2) ‘I’M FOR INCOME INEQUALITY’: “They talk about income inequality. I’m for income inequality,” Santorum said during an event in Pella, Iowa in December. “I think some people should make more than other people, because some people work harder and have better ideas and take more risk, and they should be rewarded for it. I have no problem with income inequality.”
3) CONTRACEPTION IS ‘A LICENSE TO DO THINGS’: Santorum has pledged to repeal all federal funding for contraception and allow the states to outlaw birth control, insisting that “it’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”
4) GAY SOLDIERS ‘CAUSE PROBLEMS FOR PEOPLE LIVING IN CLOSE QUARTERS’: During an appearance on Fox News Sunday in October, Santorum defended his support for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell by arguing that gay soldiers would disrupt the military because “they’re in close quarters, they live with people, they obviously shower with people.” He also suggested that “there are people who were gay and lived the gay lifestyle and aren’t anymore.”
5) OBAMA SHOULD OPPOSE ABORTION BECAUSE HE’S BLACK: During an appearance on Christian television in January, Santorum said he was surprised that President Obama didn’t know when life began — given his skin color. “I find it almost remarkable for a black man to say ‘now we are going to decide who are people and who are not people,” he explained.
6) WE DON’T NEED FOOD STAMPS BECAUSE OBESITY RATES ARE SO HIGH: Speaking in Le Mars, Iowa in December, Santorum promised to significantly reduce federal funding for food stamps, arguing that the nation’s increasing obesity rates render the program unnecessary.
7) ABORTION EXCEPTIONS TO PROTECT WOMEN’S HEALTH ARE ‘PHONY’: While discussing his track record as a champion of the partial birth abortion ban in June, Santorum dismissed exceptions other senators wanted to carve out to protect the life and health of mothers, calling such exceptions “phony.” “They wanted a health exception, which of course is a phony exception which would make the ban ineffective,” he said.
8) HEALTH REFORM WILL KILL MY CHILD: Santorum, who claims that Obamacare motivated him to run for president, told reporters in April that his daughter Bella — who was born with a genetic abnormality — wouldn’t survive in a country with “socialized medicine.” “Children like Bella are not given the treatment that other children are given.”
9) UNINSURED AMERICANS SHOULD SPEND LESS ON CELL-PHONE BILLS: During a meeting with the editorial board of the Des Moines Register in August, Santorum said that people who can’t afford health care should stop whining about the high costs of medical treatments and medications and spend less on non essentials. Answering a question about the uninsured, Santorum explained that health care, like a car, is a luxury resource that is rationed by society and recalled the story of a woman who said she was spending $200 a month on life-saving prescriptions. Santorum told her to stop complaining and instead lower her cable and cell phone bills.
10) INSURERS SHOULD DISCRIMINATE AGAINST PEOPLE WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS: Santorum sounded like a representative from the health insurance industry when he addressed a small group of high school students in Merrimack, New Hampshire in December. The former Pennsylvania senator not only defended insurers for denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, he also argued that individuals who are sick should pay higher premiums because they cost more money to insure.
1. “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….If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual 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.” [4/2003]
2. “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?” [5/22/2008]
3. On repeal of DADT: “I’m worried when many people will stand up and say, ‘well whatever the Generals want.’ I’m not too sure that we haven’t indoctrinated the Officer Corps in this country that they can actually see straight to make the right decisions.” [2/20/2010]
4. On gay adoption: “A lesbian woman came up to me and said, ‘why are you denying me my right?’ I said, ‘well, because it’s not a right.’ It’s a privilege that society recognizes because society sees intrinsic value to that relationship over any other relationship.” [5/3/2011]
5. On teaching history of gay Americans: “I certainly would not approve of [a bill moving through the California legislature compels the state to add gay history to the state education curriculum], but there’s a logical consequence to the courts injecting themselves in creating rights and people attaching their legislative ideas to those rights that in some respects could logically flow from that. So I’m not surprised.” [5/10/2011]
6. “I find it almost remarkable for a black man to say ‘now we are going to decide who are people and who are not people’.” [1/19/2011]
7. “Marriage is an institution that’s a bridge too far for too many African-American women and is not desirable among African-American males….I think [Obama] has to realize that flying to New York is…self-indulgent. Go down to the corner bar and have a drink, a shot, and a beer.” [6/2/2009]
8. “In far too many families with young children, both parents are working, when, if they really took an honest look at the budget, they might find they don’t both need to….The radical feminists succeeded in undermining the traditional family and convincing women that professional accomplishments are the key to happiness“. ['It Takes A Family,' 7/6/2005]
9. Santorum responded to the Pentagon’s decision rescind its invitation to evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at the upcoming National Day over his statement that Islam is “evil” by saying that Graham’s comment was “a reasonable statement at the time.” [3/23/2010]
10. “I think the Democrats are actually worried [Obama] may go to Indonesia and bow to more Muslims.” [3/23/2010]
11. “The creeping Sharia throughout Europe and here in this country and in Canada. The Islamization of Europe that is already on the way and will visit these shores not too soon is a concern for us and something that we need to identify and we need to talk about and we need to fight with every ounce of our being“. [2/28/2009]
12. “Now we have the Attorney General confirming to Osama bin Laden just bide your time and the effeminate and pampered Americans will cower away.” [2/28/2009]
Oh, and in the interests of full disclosure, apparently there is now some dispute as to whether Santorum’s wife had an abortion in 1996. There is some suggestion that it was merely an induced delivery of a non-viable fetus in order to save his wife’s life. Other’s say that it was a partial-birth abortion. But no matter; Santorum is opposed to abortion under any circumstances. Hmm.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not terribly keen on living in a Santorum theocracy hostile to anyone who looks or thinks differently than he does.