Santorum Asked Whether Anti-Gay Record Makes Him Electable
SALEM, N.H. - Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum once again faced a question about his opposition to marriage for same-sex couples and other gay rights issues and whether it makes him an electable presidential candidate during a town hall meeting on Jan. 9.
"Everyone on the stage yesterday and the day before has pretty much the exact same issue on those issues," he said to an overflow crowd at the Derry-Salem Elks Club, referring to the two previous Republican presidential debates in Manchester and Concord. "President Obama says he has the same position I have on gay marriage. The only difference between myself and any of them is when somebody asks me a question, I answer it."
Santorum has repeatedly faced questions from New Hampshire voters on his opposition to marriage equality and other LGBT issues since he nearly defeated former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the Iowa caucuses nearly a week ago. A group of college students heckled Santorum on the issue at New England College in Henniker last Thursday, while a man asked him about the same topic at another town hall in Nashua the following day.
New Hampshire lawmakers are slated to debate a bill later this month that would repeal the state’s marriage equality law.
Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry have both applauded the measure on the campaign trail, while House Speaker Newt Gingrich and other candidates have either avoided the issue or said it’s one that individual states should decide.
Santorum told EDGE following the Republican presidential debate in Manchester on Jan. 6 that "obviously folks disagree" with his position on the issue. Both he and Romney stated their opposition to marriage equality during a second debate in Concord on Jan. 7.
"I always find it interesting when people say that’s an extreme position," said Santorum. "Marriage between a man and a woman is now an extreme position? I don’t think so."
He elaborated further.
"Marriage is important for children to have strong families and as the foundation of our community," said Santorum. "It’s essential for the economy. If we don’t have strong families, you can’t really have a strong economy over the long-term."