Wednesday, April 23, 2003

It could be worse.

But this is pretty bad. In an interview yesterday with the Associated Press, Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, the third-highest-ranking individual in the Republican party, said:
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?

While we're posing questions, Senator, I have one for you: Do we ask people to repress who they are, who they love? You seem to suggest that it is fair and tolerant to acknowledge the existence of homosexuality while outlawing the practice thereof. Senator Santorum thought that he hadn't stuck his foot deep enough into his mouth, so he continued:
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 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.

Uh-oh, Senator. You clearly mean business. I may be interpreting your backwards statements incorrectly, but I'm pretty sure you just declared homosexuality to be anti-family, insinuated that it "undermines the fabric of our society," and equated it with bigamy, polygamy, incest, and adultery. How can you make any sort of parallel between healthy, consensual relationships and immoral, inequal, and often dishonest relationships? I know you're busy, Senator. You must have things to do other than digging yourself a tidy political (and moral) grave. Unfortunately for me and tragically for you, you still have more to say:
It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn't exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution, this right that was created, it was created in Griswold -- Griswold was the contraceptive case -- and abortion. And now we're just extending it out. And the further you extend it out, the more you -- this freedom actually intervenes and affects the family. 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.

If we wanted to run with the foot-in-mouth metaphor, I'd say that Senator Santorum is pretty much feeling his toes against the back of his throat right now. He audaciously contests the validity of abortion rights, of contraceptive rights, and of personal privacy.

It is scary when conservative values are used as justifications for legislative actions. Just ask the Right, whose very own Cybercast News Service insisted that gay rights groups owe Santorum an apology for chastising him for his belief in the Bible.

They're missing the point. Senator Santorum can believe in the Bible all he wants for all I care. He can be a strict Catholic, or even a priest, if that suits him. But he's not allowed to let that guide his policy decisions. He is a member of our federal government, a government whose founding principle it was to separate church and state. If he wants to be a decent representative of Pennsylvania's citizens (whose population includes 21,000 same-sex households), he'll think with his head and not his Bible.

Shame on you, Senator.

(cross-posted at Fire & Ice)

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