Huffpost Politics

Rick Santorum, Wife Karen Questioned By Supporter With Gay Son (VIDEO)

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Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum and his wife, Karen, faced a direct question from a supporter this week who appeared to be struggling with the former Pennsylvania senator's outspoken positions on gay rights.

"My youngest son is gay," the Greenville mother told the Santorums at a campaign stop in Myrtle Beach on Monday. "I debated for the longest time how to handle my support of you, because what he's been hearing is, 'oh, Rick Santorum hates gays.'"

She went on to say that her son didn't believe in gay marriage rights, and therefore didn't disagree with Santorum on that specific pillar of his social conservative platform, but that strong opposition to his candidacy in the gay community left her with a "sense of guilt" for remaining his supporter.

Karen Santorum fielded the question, claiming that it was "very sad what the gay activists have done out there."

"They've vilified him," she said. "Rick does not hate anyone. He loves them. What he has simply said is marriage shouldn't happen. But as far as hating, it's very unfortunate that that has happened. And a lot of it is backyard bullying."

Rick Santorum then picked up the ball, attempting to clarify that his views on gay rights simply constituted a "public policy difference," not a "personal attack."

He went on to stress his belief that children needed a mother and a father, and that the nation's laws shouldn't be changed to foster a different sort of family dynamic.

(Video above via the Washington Examiner)

Santorum's vocal views on gay rights have made him a popular target among activists who see his beliefs as a serious impediment toward full equality. He's faced heckling and aggressive questioning on the issue, both on the trail and at debates.

At a GOP debate in New Hampshire earlier this month, he was asked what he would do if he found out that one of his sons were gay.

"I would love him as much as I did the second before he said it," Santorum responded. "And I would try to do everything I can to be as good a father to him as possible."

He's also faced more nuanced questions on the LGBT front as of late.

At a recent campaign stop in South Carolina, Santorum was asked for his opinion on a recent viral video that encouraged a nationwide boycott of Girl Scout cookies over the organization's inclusion of transgender people who identify as females.

"I don't know anything about that," he responded. "I don't think that's a federal issue."

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