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Matt Bieber

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Rick Santorum Now Claims He Never Compared Homosexuality with Bestiality

Posted: 01/ 9/2012 6:19 pm

I'm pretty sure Rick Santorum lied to my face on Friday.

I was in Manchester, N.H. for one of Santorum's "Faith, Family, and Freedom" town hall meetings. As the event was getting underway, I asked Bill Boyd, one of Santorum's spokesmen, about an event earlier in the day in which college students in Concord had confronted the senator about his views on sexuality. With the country moving away from Santorum on sexuality, how did the senator hope to reach his fellow Americans on these issues?

Boyd remarked that Santorum is tolerant of other views and that he hopes Americans will extend Santorum the same courtesy and respect. "But the senator has compared loving homosexual relationships with bestiality," I remarked. Boyd apologized; he wasn't "informed about that quote."

As the event wound down, I started to ask Santorum the same question. He broke in: "Read the quote." He hadn't compared the two, he claimed.

I was bewildered. Of course he has -- it's well-documented. How is this even up for debate?

I pressed back, but he wasn't having any of it: "Read the quote." One of his staffers turned to me, and with the sanctimonious expression of a parent reprimanding a child, exhorted me to do the same.

I felt embarrassed. Had I misremembered the quotation? Worse, had I swallowed some leftist propaganda about the guy and then thrown it at his feet?

So I sat down and read the quotation. It's from a 2003 interview with USA Today, and while the entire second half of the transcript is illuminating, the most damning quotation is this:

"In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing."

I then stumbled across an interview from a couple of days ago, in which Santorum denies that he was associating homosexuality with pedophilia or bestiality. CNN's John King reads the quotation to Santorum, and Santorum responds, "Hold on one second, John. Read the quote. I said it's not. I didn't say it is. I did not connect them. I specifically excluded them."

In other words, Santorum is claiming that the "it's not" is meant to distinguish homosexuality from "man on child" and "man on dog." He wasn't equating homosexuality with pedophilia or bestiality, he says. He was separating the two.

But of course, that's not what he was doing. If you read the whole interview (or any number of other Santorum quotations), you'll see that he's not shy about his views on homosexuality. In his world, there is one acceptable kind of sex -- between a married man and woman -- and everything else is dangerous and unacceptable.

More galling, though, is his attempt to re-parse this quotation now that he's running for president. Because of course, his rereading of the quotation makes little sense. Take another look:

"In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing."

The "it" in "it's not" doesn't refer to "homosexuality." It refers to "the definition of marriage." Follow it through:

"In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That's not to pick on homosexuality. [The definition of marriage] is not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. [The definition of marriage] is one thing.

At one level, none of this matters. Santorum's disdain for homosexuality is clear, and I doubt many voters are going to weigh their support for him based on whether he actually equated gay Americans with people who have sex with dogs.

On the other hand, that's what he did, and nobody should let him get away with pretending otherwise.

 

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