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Santorum: Kirk Cameron's Tirade No Worse Than Dreaded B-Word

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It's pretty ridiculous that a faded 80s TV star's condemnation of homosexuality is being discussed, even if tangentially, in the Republican presidential primary race. Then again, none of us would have imagined a year ago that the GOP candidates would be plotting ways to keep women from getting the pill. So why should we be shocked that a leading contender in the GOP field is defending "Growing Pains" star Kirk Cameron for describing gays as destructive to civilization's foundations by claiming that Cameron's words are no more extreme than those of gay marriage supporters?

Rick Santorum was asked by Piers Morgan on CNN last week about Cameron's incendiary attack, calling homosexuality "unnatural" and "detrimental, and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization." The presidential candidate could have deflected -- he later admitted he'd not even heard Cameron's remarks -- but instead decided to claim that "both sides" on the gay issue haven't been respectful. He then maintained that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rulling Prop 8 unconstitutional is the equivalent of Cameron's words because the court deemed a large portion of California voters to be "bigots and haters."

Former candidate Michele Bachmann spouted the same line when asked by Morgan about Cameron's comments, defending the actor while claiming that those who espouse her views are the ones under attack, tarred with the dreaded B-word.

"The rhetoric is far worse against people who stand for traditional marriage," she said. "If anyone gets attacked in this country, it's people who stand for traditional marriage. I mean you just brought up Kirk Cameron, right now, and his comments. He's the one who is getting trashed right now; he's the one who is getting called a bigot."

It's beyond outrageous that these people can even remotely defend the venom spewed by Cameron, and then twist the uproar into something that ultimately couches them as the victims. But it's not surprising, as it's how they've operated all along.

So let's, once again, set the record straight, starting with Bachmann. No one is attacking people who "stand for traditional marriage." You can have the most traditional marriage you want -- and you can define "traditional" any way you want -- and no one will begrudge you that. I'm sure Michele Bachmann believes that she and husband Marcus have quite a traditional marriage, and she's entitled to call it that.

Those who seek marriage equality are not asking others to have less traditional marriages. They are, however, challenging people who want to exclude an entire group of people from marriage by claiming their "traditional" marriage is dependent on keeping others from marrying.

That said, contrary to both Santorum's and Bachmann's insinuations, Cameron did not merely defend some notion of "traditional marriage." He defamed an entire group of people, calling them "destructive" -- whether they will ever have the right to marry or not.

Cameron's words feed the hate that inspires some parents to brutally reject their children. His comments give comfort to employers who fire people because they're gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender as well as to landlords who throw people out of their homes for the same reason every day. Cameron's tirade gives encouragement to the bullies in our schools and the thugs on the streets who verbally and physically attack people because of the perception that they're gay. His words are a textbook example of religious bigotry: using faith as an excuse to slander and and marginalize a minority group and strip it of rights.

For Santorum to claim Cameron's comment are equivalent to the 9th Circuit Court ruling is so idiotic that it shouldn't warrant a response except that we can't let this law school graduate get away with claiming a court called voters "bigots and haters."

The three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit, like federal judge Vaughn Walker whose ruling it upheld, made no judgement on the voters' motives or reasoning; it simply did its job in upholding the law. The court stated that a group of people can't be singled out -- it can't have an existing right taken from it by the voters. That group happened to be gays and lesbians this time, but it could just as well be Catholics -- and I'm sure Santorum would have a problem with that.

But even if the court did say the voters were acting in a bigoted way -- and since when is it a shock that voters act in bigoted ways? -- that in no way compares to the virulence expressed by Cameron against a minority group under attack every day.

Last time I checked, people characterized as bigots were not being bullied in schools or bludgeoned on the streets. Bigots can even get married in every state in America -- even to other bigots, if they choose -- and they can obviously be open about their bigotry, even on national television. But the sad truth is, it is still dangerous in much of America for people to be openly gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. And that's because of bigotry of the kind espoused by Kirk Cameron.

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