Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Santorum controversy arose over U.S. Senator Rick Santorum's statements about homosexuality and the "right to privacy" in April 2003. In an interview with the Associated Press (AP) taped on April 7, 2003 and published April 20, 2003, Santorum stated that he believed consenting adults do not have a Constitutional right to privacy with respect to sexual acts. Santorum described homosexual acts as part of a class of sexual behavior, including adultery, polygamy, pedophilia, incest, sodomy, and zoophilia, which threaten society and the family, as they are not monogamous and heterosexual. Democratic politicians, gay rights advocates, and other liberal commentators condemned the statements, while Republican politicians, religious conservatives, and other conservative commentators supported Santorum and called the condemnations unfair.
In the interview, when asked for his position on the Roman Catholic Church sex abuse scandal, Santorum said that the scandal involved priests and "post-pubescent men" in "a basic homosexual relationship" (not child sexual abuse), which led the interviewer to ask if homosexuality should be outlawed.
- he didn't have a problem with homosexuals, but "a problem with homosexual acts"
- the right to privacy "doesn't exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution"
- "whether it's polygamy, whether it's adultery, whether it's sodomy, all of those things, are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family"
- and that sodomy laws properly exist to prevent acts which "undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family"
When asked "OK, without being too gory or graphic, so if somebody is homosexual, you would argue that they should not have sex?" his response concluded: "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."
In the original version of the AP story, Santorum was quoted as saying:
- If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual [gay] 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.
His initial statement in the unedited interview (see below) did not include the insert "[gay]". It also included additional remarks criticizing "homosexual acts":
- Whether it's polygamy, whether it's adultery, whether it's sodomy, all of those things, are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family.
Santorum's comments evoked responses ranging from George W. Bush's remark, relayed through a spokesperson, that "the President believes that the senator is an inclusive man", to sharp criticism from Howard Dean that "gay-bashing is not a legitimate public policy discussion; it is immoral", to conservative groups such as the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America who came to Santorum's defense.
The openly-gay sex columnist Dan Savage held a competition (announced 05/15/03) in his syndicated column Savage Love to coin a sex-related definition for "santorum" to "memorialize the Santorum scandal". The word quickly (Savage Love column, 06/12/03) acquired a new definition: "the frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex". Savage is still promoting attempts to inject the new definition into the American mainstream, with mixed results (see below).
Critics went on the attack the day after the AP story. Democrats and gay rights groups (including the Center for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights , the Pennsylvania Log Cabin Republicans, OutFront , and the Pennsylvania Gender Rights Coalition) condemned Santorum's remarks and demanded an apology. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) called on Santorum to step down as chairman of the Senate Republican Conference.
The initial wave of critics were quick to denounce Santorum's apparent comparison of homosexuals to adulterers, polygamists and people engaging in incest. Subsequently, others broadened the critique, and argued that Santorum's position was also an affront to "normal" people, as he had stated that he did not believe in an individual's constitutional right to engage in private consensual sexual acts.
Santorum defended his remarks, declaring that his comments were not intended to equate homosexuality with incest and adultery, but rather to challenge the specific legal position that the right to privacy prevents the government from regulating consensual acts among adults, a position he disputes because he does not believe that there is a constitutional right to privacy.
The dissenting opinion in Lawrence vs. Texas took a similar view—that since it had been ruled that the reason the Texas homosexuality law is unconstitutional is that states have no right to interfere with an individual's choice of sexual partners, then the same ruling seems to imply that states have no right to legislate against incest, adultery, or any other private, mutually consensual sexual act. Although this is intended as an argument against the ruling of unconstitutionality, some favor this viewpoint.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details