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Rick Santorum: It Would Be 'Suicidal' For GOP To Embrace Gay Marriage

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Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) continued to bolster his social conservative platform on Monday, telling the Des Moines Register that the GOP must maintain its opposition to marriage equality to avert political suicide. He also predicted that the Supreme Court would reject gay-marriage rights in upcoming rulings.

“I’m sure you could go back and read stories, oh, you know, ‘The Republican party’s going to change. This is the future.’ Obviously that didn’t happen,” Santorum said. “I think you’re going to see the same stories written now and it’s not going to happen. The Republican Party’s not going to change on this issue. In my opinion it would be suicidal if it did.”

While Santorum's advice echoes an argument made by other social conservatives, it comes as some Republican commentators have urged the party to take a more libertarian stance on social issues in the wake of large electoral defeats in 2012. While many GOP lawmakers have so far been resistant to the idea of embracing gay marriage, Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) recently came out in favor of marriage equality. Portman announced that his decision was affected by his son, Will, who is gay.

Santorum also offered a prediction for Supreme Court rulings on the cases of California's Proposition 8 gay-marriage ban and the federal Defense of Marriage Act, both heard last month.

“I think you’ll see, hopefully, a chastened Supreme Court is not going to make the same mistake in the (current) cases as they did in Roe v. Wade,” Santorum told the Register, invoking the landmark 1973 ruling that confirmed a woman's right to an abortion. “I’m hopeful the Supreme Court learned its lesson about trying to predict where the American public is going on issues and trying to find rights in the Constitution that sit with the fancy of the day.”

The justices are expected to announce their rulings in June. Court observers have predicted that gay-marriage activists will be supportive of the eventual rulings.

While Santorum opposes gay marriage and abortion, seemingly suggesting that they are both flash-in-the-pan issues, recent polling actually shows the nation moving further away from his rigid conservative views. A number of March surveys showed a majority of Americans now in favor of gay marriage, while an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll taken near the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade on Jan. 22 showed 54 percent of adults supporting legalized abortion in most or all cases, marking the first time a majority of Americans had expressed such a view in that survey.

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