In last night’s Fox News Republican Presidential Debate in Iowa, conservative contender Rick Santorum sparred with fellow candidate Ron Paul over the war on terror—and linked Iran’s ties to terrorism with its oppression of gays.
Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania, implied that Paul, a Texas Congressman and Tea Party favorite, took Iran’s ties to state-sponsored terrorism too lightly. America, Santorum said, had a responsibility to ensure freedom domestically and abroad. “I don’t apologize for the Iranian people being free for a long time, and now they’re under a ‘Mullahcracy’ that tramples the rights of women, tramples the rights of gays, tramples the rights of people all throughout their society.”
Wait, what? It may have been the first time this pol ever defended the “rights of gays” on the record.
Santorum holds infamous views about homosexual behavior. In an interview with the Associated Press in 2005, he offered the classic slippery-slope argument against same-sex marriage with regards to an individual’s Constitutional right to privacy. “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,” he said. “Whether it’s polygamy, whether it’s adultery, where it’s sodomy, all of those things are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family.”
And just this week, Santorum introduced a couple of handy metaphors to Iowa voters for comparing opposite-sex and same-sex marriage. “This,” he said, brandishing a disposable paper product at an Iowa drugstore, “is a napkin. I can call this napkin a paper towel. But it is a napkin. Why? Because it is what it is. You can call it whatever you want, but it doesn’t change the character of what it is. People come out and say marriage is something else. ‘Marriage’ is the marriage of five people, 10, 20, marriage can be between fathers and daughters, marriage can be between any two people, any four people; any kind of relationship. And we can call it marriage. But it doesn’t make it marriage.”
On C-Span a few days later, Santorum extended the metaphor to include liquids. “Marriage is what marriage is. Marriage existed before there was a government. It’s like saying this glass of water,” he said, picking up the first inanimate object at hand, “is a glass of beer. You can call it a glass of beer, but it’s not a glass of beer. It’s a glass of water. Water is what water is. Marriage is what marriage is.”
Actually, a drink sounds pretty good right now.