Entertainment » Culture

Rick Santorum to join PFLAG? Not likely

by Robert Nesti
EDGE National Arts & Entertainment Editor
Sunday Jan 8, 2012
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In this morning’s Republican Presidential debate, Rick Santorum was asked what he would say if his son told him he was gay.

"I would love him as much as I did the second before he said it," he answered unequivocally.

"And I would try to do everything I can to be as a good a father to him as possible."

Does that mean we will see Santorum joining PFlag soon?

Probably not. Following the debate, the New York Times pointed out that Santorum was asked this question before and gave a less-equivocal answer.

It was in an interview published in GQ in August, 2003 entitled "Rick Santorum is Straight":

"I would try to point out to them what is the right thing to do. And we have many temptations to do things we shouldn’t do," he told the magazine. "It doesn’t mean you have to submit."

Mr. Santorum added that all parents should help steer their children in a direction "that would lead them to a better and happier life."

Then, when pressed on whether he would still love his son, he replied, "It’s all you can do."


A problem with homosexual acts

In preceding paragraphs in the GQ story, Santorum’s views on homosexuality were detailed:

"The Associated Press reporter Lara Jakes Jordan had brought up the priest scandals in the Catholic church. She was in for a wild ride. Santorum asserted that it goes back to this moral relativism, which is very accepting of a variety of different lifestyles.’ When asked by Jordan if he proposed outlawing homosexuality, the senator clarified himself: ’I have no problem with homosexuality. I have a problem with homosexual acts, as I would with acts of other-what I would consider to be acts outside of traditional heterosexual relationships. And that includes a variety of different acts, not just homosexual. I have nothing, absolutely nothing, against anyone who’s homosexual. If that’s their orientation, then I accept that. The question is, do you act upon those orientations?... You have to separate the person from the actions.’

"Santorum turned to the Texas sodomy case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court and offered his analysis: ’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. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does. It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn’t exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution, this right that was created [by the Supreme Court]. It was created in Griswold-the contraceptive case-and [in the] abortion [case]. And now we’re just extending it out. And the further you extend it out, the more this freedom actually intervenes and affects the family. You say, ’Well, it’s my individual freedom.’ Yes, but it destroys the basic unit of our society because it condones behavior that’s antithetical to strong, healthy families. Whether it’s polygamy, whether it’s adultery, whether it’s sodomy-all of those things are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family.’"

As for his views on same-sex marriage, the GQ story continued:

" ’It undermines marriage,’ Santorum said, when I raised the specter of same-sex unions. ’To me, marriage and the family are the essential underpinnings of a stable society.’ He cited a court case, filed on behalf of seven gay couples, which may soon decide if homosexual marriage will be an option for the people of Massachusetts. ’Other states in the country will have to accept that,’ he argued.

When I asked how such a ruling would make any difference in his own marriage, Santorum replied, ’It changes society’s view of what marriage is. Therefore, I would argue that it undermines the unique and special privileges given to you as a married couple, and it changes society’s view of the importance of that unique bond.’

"I apologized to the senator for not grasping his point. My wife and I didn’t believe that our union was influenced by anyone else’s. ’Okay,’ he said. ’Well, what are your children going to learn in school?... They do teach about marriage. They teach about all social constructs. They have to. And as a result, there’ll be a feeling within the educational community that we have to address this issue. So there will be an impact on the entire culture-and, I would argue, not a positive one.’


What, though, may be the most telling part of the GQ article was the description of when the then-senator Santorum met with parents of LGBT children:

"A few days earlier, I spoke with Dick and Melina Waldo and Allen and Fran Kirschner, four parents who had met recently in Santorum’s office to discuss their gay children. Though the senator’s staff insisted that the meeting was by no means heated or uncomfortable, the pain and shell shock were evident in the parents’ voices a month after the exchange. They had brought photographs of their children, at which the senator barely glanced. They spoke of their wishes for happiness for those children. Santorum was unmoved. He did not wish to talk about anything personal. ’Ma’am, are you a lawyer?’ he abruptly asked Melina Waldo. ’Because I’m a lawyer, and what you’re discussing is the law of the land.’ There is no right to privacy in the Constitution, he said. He insisted that he had nothing personal against homosexuals-that once upon a time he lived next door to a gay couple. He concluded the meeting, the parents told me, without extending a hand or even saying good-bye.

"’We tried so hard to put a positive image on what families with gay children look like,’ lamented Fran Kirschner. ’He wouldn’t let us. It was almost as if he didn’t want to let us in.’ "

In some respects, the exchange was indicative of the one Santorum had with college students this past Thursday in an appearance at New Hampshire’s New England College. When pressed about the idea that a gay couple who wanted to be married were denied "happiness," Santorum compared their relationship to polygamy.

Dowd reported in the New York Times on Sunday, January 8, 2012: "When 17-year-old Rhiannon Pyle, visiting with her civics class from Newburyport, Mass., pressed Santorum on how he could believe that all men are created equal and still object to two men in love marrying, he began nonsensically frothing.

" ’So if everybody has the right to be happy, so if you’re not happy unless you’re married to five other people, is that O.K.?’ he said, adding, ’Well, what about three men?’

"The grating Santorum was their worst nightmare of a bad teacher. He merely got booed; he’s lucky the kids didn’t TP his car or soap the windows," Dowd concluded.


Robert Nesti can be reached at rnesti@edgemedianetwork.com.

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