Santorum’s “Love” For His Hypothetical Gay Son

Rick Santorum speaking in Florida in 2011. <a target="_blank" href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/6184433982/sizes/m/in/photostream/">Flickr/Gage Skidmore</a>


During Sunday’s GOP Primary debate, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum had a nice little moment when he said that if his son were gay, “I would love him as much as I did the second before he said it. And I would try to do everything I can to be as good of a father to him as possible.”

As I wrote Sunday, the nature of the question allowed Santorum to avoid the legal implications of his views on homosexuality while putting forth a load of schmaltz about “loving” gay people. Santorum might “love” his gay son, but he’d also want him banned from serving openly in the military, getting married, or adopting children. As Reason‘s Jacob Sullum notes today, in the infamous 2004 “man on dog” interview Santorum also indicated he’d favor criminalizing sexual activity he disapproves of:

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…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 familyThe idea is that the state doesn’t have rights to limit individuals’ wants and passions. I disagree with that. I think we absolutely have rights because there are consequences to letting people live out whatever wants or passions they desire.

So Santorum also thinks that his hypothetical gay son, whom he’d love so dearly, should also face legal consequences if he ever consummates a relationship with someone he’s actually attracted to. He’d want him to live a life of chaste loneliness, ostracized from whatever opportunities government might decide are inappropriate for gay men to pursue and incapable of building the kind of family he’d want to have. But Santorum would still, you know, “love” him.

MORE HARD-HITTING JOURNALISM

In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones, a special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.