No apology expected from Santorum

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com April 24 2003 12:00 AM ET

During an interview with Fox News Tuesday night, Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania said he won't apologize for comments he made comparing homosexuality to bigamy, polygamy, incest, and adultery. The Republican legislator made the remarks while discussing an upcoming decision by the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of sodomy laws.

"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," Santorum told the Associated Press two weeks ago. "All of those things are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family. And that's sort of where we are in today's world, unfortunately. It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn't exist, in my opinion, in the United States Constitution."

He told Fox News, "I do not need to give an apology based on what I said and what I'm saying now--I think this is a legitimate public policy discussion. This is what the state of Texas argued in their brief. These are not, you know, ridiculous, you know, comments. These are very much a very important point."

Despite calls from activists and Democrats for Santorum to be removed from his position as GOP conference chairman, the third-highest post in the party's leadership, the senator appears to still have the support of Republican leaders. Senate majority leader Bill Frist has refused to condemn his statements, saying, "Rick is a consistent voice for inclusion and compassion in the Republican Party and in the Senate, and to suggest otherwise is just politics." The White House, meanwhile, has refused to comment on Santorum's remarks. At a press briefing on Tuesday, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said, "I have not seen the entire context of the interview. And two, I haven't talked to the president about it, so I really don't have anything to offer." Prodded on as to why he had no comment, Fleischer added, "Because I've been a little busy focusing on other activities and events, and I haven't talked to the president about it."

In fact, it seems the only Republicans to come out publicly against Santorum's statements are gay Republicans, specifically the gay political group Log Cabin Republicans. "As the largest gay and lesbian Republican organization in America, Log Cabin believes that Santorum's statements are neither compassionate nor conservative," said Log Cabin executive director Patrick Guerriero. "We work every day to insure that tolerance and inclusion become a permanent part of the American political landscape. These comments don't help that mission."

Here are excerpts from the Associated Press transcript of the April 7 interview with Santorum:

"Again, it goes back to this moral relativism, which is very accepting of a variety of different lifestyles. And if you make the case that if you can do whatever you want to do, as long as it's in the privacy of your own home, this 'right to privacy,' then why be surprised that people are doing things that are deviant within their own home? If you say, there is no deviant as long as it's private, as long as it's consensual, then don't be surprised what you get. You're going to get a lot of things that you're sending signals that as long as you do it privately and consensually, we don't really care what you do. And that leads to a culture that is not one that is nurturing and necessarily healthy. I would make the argument in areas where you have that as an accepted lifestyle, don't be surprised that you get more of it....

"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. And I have no problem with someone who has other orientations. The question is, Do you act upon those orientations? So it's not the person, it's the person's actions. And you have to separate the person from their actions....

"We have laws in states, like the one at the Supreme Court right now, that has sodomy laws, and they were there for a purpose. Because again, I would argue, they undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family. And 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. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue, yes, it does....

"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, where it's sodomy, all of those things are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family....

"Every society in the history of man has upheld the institution of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman. Why? Because society is based on one thing: that society is based on the future of the society. And that's what? Children. Monogamous relationships. In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be....

"If New York doesn't want sodomy laws, if the people of New York want abortion, fine. I mean, I wouldn't agree with it, but that's their right. But I don't agree with the Supreme Court coming in."