Joe Mirabella

Rick Santorum's Dangerous Shift in Tone

Filed By Joe Mirabella | April 25, 2011 8:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Media, Politics
Tags: 2012 election, Presidential election, Rick Santorum

When questioned about rights for gays and lesbians, Rick Santorum told Fox New's Mike Wallace501px-Rick_Santorum_by_Gage_Skidmore.jpg:

"Well, sure. I mean there are all sorts of contractual benefits that anybody can contract for. But the question is whether we should institutionalize that in public policy? My feeling is that people can live their lives however they want to live it," Santorum explained.

"The question is: what are you going to do to try to impact public policy to recognize particular relationships?" he continued. "My feeling is the relationship that should be recognized in public policy that provides exceptional benefit, unusual unique benefits to society is marriage. Marriage between a man and a woman who are there to join together for the purpose of continuing society, which is having children and raising the children in a home with a mom and a dad."

"But you wouldn't give them any rights as a matter of public policy?" Wallace wondered.

"It depends what you mean by 'rights.' Are you talking benefits as far as rights? They have the right to be able to -- employment. I don't know what you mean by rights. What I'm talking about are privileges. Privileges of marriage, privileges of government benefits is a different thing than basic right to live their lives as they well should and can as free Americans," Santorum replied.

Rick Santorum's new tone is not only dangerous because it is wrong, but because to a passive center-right independent it almost sounds reasonable.

Santorum tried to frame the very basic rights gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender, and transsexual people strive for as "privilege" - a loaded word to say the least.

For years our community has made a steady and accurate argument that what we seek are basic inalienable rights; however in Rick Santorum's opinion, those rights should only go to a "privileged" class of heterosexual men and women who intend to breed.

Santorum further confuses the issue by suggesting contracts between two adults are enough to protect families. You need to look no further than Janice Langbehn's story to see how false that is. She and her partner had a legal domestic partnership, all the contracts available between two people granting one another medical power of attorney and more, and yet the hospital still refused to recognize their relationship.

Santorum suggested in his statement that LGBT people have a right to employment, while he knew full well they don't have that right in more than half this country. He and his allies fought us at every turn to prevent the Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA) from becoming law. Consquently it is still legal to fire someone based on sexual orientation or gender identity in more than 30 states.

By creating two classes, a "privileged" class and one for everyone else that includes the LGBT community, our public policy will only help increase the division and harm for LGBT people.

I have no doubt Santorum realized this, but in his attempt to become more mainstream for a presidential run, he dropped the polarizing rhetoric equating us to animal lovers and pedophiles - at least for now.

Instead he confused the argument in subtle and digestible ways. "Well if they have contracts and work, that seems like enough," someone could easily and falsely conclude.

Let's be clear, Rick Santorum is not a friend to the LGBT community and I doubt he ever will be. He made a career out of beating us up politically, and if he were ever in the White House life for our community would be awful. Every advance we made would be undone, and he would do everything in his power to make life even more difficult than it was before our recent limited gains.

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Kathy Padilla | April 25, 2011 8:52 AM

" My feeling is that people can live their lives however they want to live it," Santorum explained.

"The question is: what are you going to do to try to impact public policy to recognize particular relationships?" he continued. "My feeling is"


Well - who am I to hurt Ricky's delicate fee-fees hurt by the indigity of having him & his family compete against lgbt people with equal finacial ms other benefits?

That must be scary.

Thomasntexas | April 25, 2011 9:05 AM

If we can get him in a brown shirt and have him repeat all that crap in German it would be 1938 all over again...

Commentators to middle America must expose that Santorum has come out against the US Supreme Court's decision in Griswald v. Connecticut, that recognized a constitutional right to privacy in 1965. The case involved whether or not condoms could be distributed or sold in Connecticut as contraceptive devices. Some may remember the days when condoms could only be distributed with the labeling "for the prevention of disease only". An 1879 Connecticut law banned any type of contraceptive devices or medications. This law was being challenged, and Santorum was against the Supreme Court's decision overturning it. This case pre-dated the birth control pill, and most contemporary contraceptives, except condoms and diaphragms.

He thus is favoring the highly intrusive involvement of the government in even a straight couple's sexual relations, saying that there is no right to privacy as the Court held 7-2.

He must be exposed as only favoring straight marriages that have the potential for reproduction. He should be challenged as to whether in his world view, widows and widowers then would
be allowed to remarry, once beyond reproductive age.

He needs to be exposed for the ultra-extremist that he is, one who wants the government in every bedroom in America. The same principle that applied to the Griswald decision was later applied to other statutes throughout America that banned many sex acts, even between married straight couples. Specifically, oral sex was illegal in many states, even between married straights. It used to be a joke in newspaper advice columns (such as Dear Abby and Ann Landers) in which letters were submitted allegedly by a wife, who claimed that her husband had received a job promotion that involved moving to a state in which her husband's favorite sex act would be illegal. The wife then pleads for advice as what to do. The advice columnists used these to argue against the government being involved in such matters, and jokingly blamed the letters on "Yale students".

Santorum's war against gays has not provided any example of just how straight marriage is adversely affected. It is all the usual rants and scare tactics. He is not simply against gay marriage or civil unions, he is totally against gays being out, and wants everyone back in the closet and invisible. He calls being "out" and living without discrimination, a special "privilege", rather than Equality.

My gaydar went off the first time I saw him in person in Washington. He strikes me as a despicable closet case who has decided to make a career against gays who are better adjusted to society and to life than he is. He wraps himself in sanctimony, and promotes a world with no separation of his church, and state.

Rick Sutton | April 25, 2011 9:56 AM

And here's another reason his nonsense is scary: it fits the dogma of a large number of folks.

And I fear their number is growing.

He's no real threat to win anything, is he? Penn folks hate him.

To some extent, if he solidifies the already-far-right 2012 GOP Presidential discussion, so be it. They're digging their own grave. Never stand in the way of an enemy intent on destroying himself.

Please tell me Pennsylvanians despise him.

Kathy Padilla | April 25, 2011 1:40 PM

Pennsylvanians despise him.

Nov 7, 2006 … Candidate, Votes, Percent. CASEY, BOB JR (DEM). 2392984, 58.7%. SANTORUM, RICK ( REP). 1684778, 41.3% …

A thorough repudiation for an incumbent - and his latest poll numbers are anemic.

Well, at least he's building the argument against him without our help.

Or we could just see for a fine view of the man. It's the most popular website for him when his name is searched. Quite ironic.

I assume that he is in favor of modifying the marriage licenses in Pennsylvania so that straight couples make a guarantee to the state that they will have children? And if they are unable, due to age or medical condition, they will not be allowed to marry?

I had no idea that Pennsylvania was facing negative population growth, and that it is so in need of propping up its birth rate.

It'd be funny if he were nominated GOP prez candidate next year and GOProud and LCR would have to explain why they support him.

GOProud might, but LCR refused to endorse Bush in 2004 because of his support for FMA and I see nothing to indicate that they'd do differently in this case. Of course this is all academic anyways as I have a far greater chance of winning the Lotto - without even buying a ticket no less - than Santorum does of ever becoming POTUS.

Government of heterosexuals, by heterosexuals and for heterosexuals - is that what you're saying Santorum?