Fund-raising letter adds to Santorum controversy

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com May 01 2003 12:00 AM ET

U.S. senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), who has been criticized for recent remarks about gays and lesbians, sent a letter to donors shortly after the September 11 terrorist attacks soliciting donations for a nonprofit group lobbying against same-sex marriage. "I know it may sound like a huge exaggeration, particularly in light of the attack on America, but this may truly be the most important letter I ever write you," Santorum wrote.

The letter endorsed Alexandria, Va.-based Alliance for Marriage and its campaign for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages. The mailing sought money so the nonprofit could flood Congress with petitions to "protect marriage between a man and a woman against the attacks of the homosexual activists."

Mark Mead, spokesman for the gay political group Log Cabin Republicans, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that the letter raises doubts about Santorum's priorities. "There are far more important issues for families in Pennsylvania than this--education, a fair tax code, safer streets, prescription-drug medicines for those who don't have coverage," Mead said. "He has an unhealthy obsession with this, overlooking more important issues."

The revelation about the letter is the latest development in an ongoing storm of controversy surrounding Santorum's public comments on homosexuality. In an April 7 Associated Press interview, he brought up the pending Supreme Court case regarding Texas's sodomy law and said, "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." In an April 22 statement, Santorum said his comments should not be misconstrued as a statement on individual lifestyles and that he is a "firm believer that all are equal under the Constitution."