Santorum’s Anti-Gay Remarks Fit Pattern of Discrimination

PFAW Calls on President, GOP Leaders to Repudiate Santorum on Gays, Claim that Constitution Contains No Right to Privacy

Referring to the pending Supreme Court case on Texas’ so-called “Homosexual Conduct” law, Pennsylvania Republican Senator Rick Santorum said in an Associated Press interview, “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.” Later in the interview, Santorum said, “It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn’t exist, in my opinion, in the United States Constitution… Whether it’s polygamy, whether it’s adultery, where it’s sodomy, all of those things are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family.”

Following is a statement from People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas.

“Senator Rick Santorum’s remarks comparing the protection of Americans’ privacy in their own homes to protecting bigamy and incest came as a disappointment, but, sadly, not as a surprise. Santorum’s record demonstrates a history of hostility toward equal rights for all Americans, and that hostility is reflected in the attitudes of the Republican party leaders and the many of the judicial nominees of President Bush.”

“Santorum missed an opportunity to apologize for these insensitive comments. Instead, he claimed that his comments were in keeping with his belief that everyone is ‘equal under the Constitution.’ It is evident from his record that this is not the case. The White House and Santorum’s colleagues in the GOP leadership also chose to maintain their silence on Santorum’s attack on equal rights. They should repudiate his comments, and affirm an inclusive vision of America where privacy and equal rights are guaranteed for all.

“Since 2001, Santorum, with the president’s blessing, has worked to include language specifically authorizing discrimination into a piece of so-called ‘faith-based’ legislation. Santorum previously admitted that he wanted to allow religious organizations to be able to take public funds but still discriminate against gay people. Fortunately, despite Santorum’s position as third-highest ranking Republican in the Senate Leadership, he was forced to remove his divisive provisions from the final version passed in the Senate.

“Santorum’s record closely matches that of other far right ideologues. Alabama Attorney General William Pryor — who is one of President Bush’s troubling federal appeals court nominees — in his state’s amicus curiae brief to the Supreme Court in the Texas case equated the right of gay Americans to engage in consensual sex within their own homes to ‘activities like prostitution, adultery, necrophilia, bestiality, possession of child pornography, and even incest and pedophilia…’

“The comments of Santorum’s spokesperson that he ‘has no problem with gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender individuals’ rings hollow. Santorum describes gay people as a threat to healthy families. His record supporting discrimination through charitable choice legislation, and his opposition to hate crimes legislation demonstrate instead that Santorum believes gay Americans don’t deserve full equality with other Americans.

“The silence from the White House and Republican party leaders about Senator Santorum’s comments, combined with Bush’s troubling judicial nominees and his executive orders supporting discriminatory hiring in religious institutions, all point to the high stakes in this summer’s likely battle for the future of the Supreme Court. Will the next justice support privacy and equal rights for all, or will these and other freedoms be restricted for generations to come?

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