Stella Maxwell
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Can Mike Huckabee Out-Santorum Rick Santorum?

Can Mike Huckabee Out-Santorum Rick Santorum?

Two of the most antigay figures in Republican politics have been Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, both of whom are, incredibly, still considered viable 2016 presidential candidates. But will there really be room in a GOP primary for two darlings of social conservatives?

Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are relatively new to the antigay political stage, and with the country picking up its 36th state with marriage equality this month, antigay politicians are scrambling to outdo each other with caustic homophobic rhetoric. Luckily for Huckabee and Santorum, though, both men have distinguished themselves — for decades — with truly loathsome attacks on the LGBT community.

Santorum won 11 states during his 2012 run for president, compared to Huckabee taking just eight states in 2008. So, between Santorum and Huckabee, who would "win" with social conservatives in 2016? Let's help homophobic voters examine their records.

 

On Marriage

Santorum: Santorum made the rounds on conservative radio programming last June, where he proclaimed that marriage is "about a unity of men and women, for the purposes of having and raising children, and giving the child their birthright, which is to be raised by their natural mother and natural father." That same month, he also equated LGBT activists with Nazis, and in October, he claimed that young people overwhelmingly support LGBT equality because the so-called gay agenda has "silenced the church."

Huckabee: Last October, Huckabee threatened to desert his beloved GOP, “If the Republicans want to [support marriage equality and] lose guys like me and a whole bunch of still God-fearing, Bible-believing people, go ahead.” Huckabee also expressed a hope that public officials would refuse to obey court rulings that allowed gays and lesbians to marry. And in his recently released book, Huckabee claims that marriage equality will lead bisexual people to demanding to marry a partner of each sex. 

On Criminalizing Gays

Santorum: "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," Santorum said in 2003, responding to the landmark Supreme Court decision known as Lawrence v. Texas. "You have the right to anything."

Huckabee: "It is Arkansas public policy to prohibit sodomy to protect the traditional family structure," Huckabee said four years after the Supreme Court struck down sodomy laws nationwide in Lawrence. "Well I believe it would be — just like lying is sinful and stealing is sinful."

On Open Military Service

Santorum: "Removing 'don't ask, don't tell,' I think tries to inject social policy into the military," Santorum told out soldier Stephen Snyder-Hill, who Skyped in from his post in Iraq to ask the 2011 GOP presidential contenders if they would reinstate the ban on openly LGB service members. "What we're doing is playing social experimentation with our military right now. And that's tragic."

Huckabee: Back in 2010, before DADT repeal was complete, Huckabee responded to a question about gays in the military by saying that "I feel homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle."

On Gay Scouts

Santorum: Allowing Scouts to serve openly is "abandoning the organization’s founding moral principles that nurture boys into men," Santorum said in 2013.

Huckabee: Used a 2012 radio show to promote the idea that gay scouts are sexual predators, claiming that his own former scoutmaster had assaulted Boy Scouts in young Huckabee's troop. 

On AIDS

Santorum: While blaming President Obama for the partisan gridlock in Washington late last year, Santorum observed that "There was no one nicer than Jesse Helms," a gay-bashing political bully who blocked funding for AIDS research in the 1980s because he thought gays were "unnatural" and "disgusting."

Huckabee: In 2007, Huckabee advocated the quarantine of AIDS patients, years after the modes of transmission were common knowledge.

And That's Not All...

So which is more antigay, Huckabee or Santorum? They may be equally terrible. But they're not the only regressive Republicans who may enter the race.

Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal supports a constitutional ban on marriage equality, an idea that was dead on arrival more than a decade ago. Chris Christie vetoed a marriage bill in 2012. Rand Paul says "I believe in old-fashioned traditional marriage." Rubio made a big display of outrage when Florida started allowing same-sex couples to marry. Cruz wants to unmarry same-sex couples whenever they cross state lines.

And Rick Perry — well, where to begin? An outspoken opponent of marriage equality, he's endorsed "pray away the gay" methods and said homosexuality is like alcoholism. And then there was that television commercial from his 2012 run for president in which Perry staked his candidacy on opposing repeal of DADT — and the Internet mocked him mercilessly.

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