As Rick Santorum suspends his presidential campaign, observers are noting that his antigay rhetoric was not a sure winner with his fellow Roman Catholics.
The pro-LGBT group Catholics for Equality issued a statement pointing out that exit polls in several key primary states indicated that “Catholic voters rejected his theocratic agenda, including his irrational obsession with stripping LGBT citizens of all legal recognition and protection. In most states Santorum was rejected by Catholics several percentage points more than he was rejected by the public at large.”
Santorum often received greater support from evangelical Protestants than from Catholics. In Ohio’s primary last month, for instance, Santorum won 31% of the Catholic vote and front-runner Mitt Romney 43%, according to a CNN exit poll. Among evangelicals, 47% cast their votes for Santorum, 30% for Romney. The state as a whole went narrowly for Romney over Santorum, 38% to 37%. In Michigan, CNN reported, 44% of Catholics went for Romney to 42% for Santorum, while 51% of evangelicals preferred Santorum and 35% voted for Romney. Romney took the state with 41% of the vote to Santorum’s 38%.
“American Catholics overwhelmingly support full legal equality for LGBT people,” said Catholics for Equality executive director Phil Attey. “And not even Republican Catholics share Santorum's belief that U.S. public policy should be dictated by the Vatican.” Find out more about Catholics for Equality here.