Rick Santorum
WATCH: Rick Santorum Makes a Joke of His Campaign for President

By Lucas Grindley

Originally published on Advocate.com October 11 2012 3:11 PM ET

It turns out even Rick Santorum didn't think anyone should take his candidacy for president seriously. But that didn't stop him from delivering one of his most overtly antigay speeches ever on Tuesday.

During a speech to the Family Policy Institute, which invited the former Pennsylvania senator to its fundraiser to fight marriage equality in Washington state, Santorum got the audience laughing along with him about the notion he intended to be a real presidential candidate.

Santorum said that, after losing reelection, he wanted to get back into the national debate, so he started making speeches.

"One of my speeches, I went to Iowa. And immediately when I announced that I was going to Iowa, everyone started, well, is he running for president?" Santorum remembered, before delivering the punchline that is his real-life story. "Well I said, yeah, that's the logical thing for someone who lost their last Senate race in 2006 by the largest margin of any incumbent in 40 years."

The audience cracked up as he talked over them, "Sure, run for president! That makes all the sense in the world!"

So Santorum said he played along with the media attention, which he said included CSPAN covering his speech and Fox News announcing his visit.

"I'm not the brightest guy in the world," he said. "But it wasn't too hard to figure out that if you want some attention at a time that you think it's important for our country to hear what you have to say, well, then you just sort of go along."

At the fundraiser, Santorum amped up the antigay campaign trail rhetoric that helped him lose the Republican nomination. He said the television show "Will & Grace" had normalized homosexuality and is an example of "tolerance misunderstood." Santorum yet again painted same-sex marriage as the downfall of society, and he compared the ballot fight in Washington to being in a fox hole under gunfire in a war.

At one point, he seemed to imply ominously that homosexuality would be part of a public school education if marriage equality is the law. And, he disagrees with the use of the phrase "marriage equality."

"Are all things equal? Is everything equal to everything else, or are there differences?" he wondered. "Are some things better than other things? Are some things more worthy of support than other things?"

An "excess" of equality he says is a "threat to freedom." He told the group that same-sex marriage cannot become legal in Washington because "if we do not win this issue of marriage, not only will the family disintegrate, it is disintegrating." Even worse, Santorum foresees, "This issue will destroy and undermine the church in America."

Santorum continues to paint religious people as the victims of discrimination and not LGBT people.

"The issue of same-sex marriage and what churches will be able to say and not say, and do and not do," he told them. "You will see it taught in your schools. You will see society fundamentally change and anyone who doesn't agree with it will be cast — as you know, because I hear it, I'm sure you do — as bigots, people who you just don't invite into polite conversation. This will be the norm in America. This is what you're fighting. You are on the front lines."