On April 23rd, The Human Rights Campaign called on the Senate GOP
Caucus to reconsider Sen. Rick Santorum's, R-Pa., leadership position
within the Republican Party after making deeply divisive and hurtful
statements comparing homosexuality to incest in an interview with The
Associated Press. Santorum issued a misleading statement on Tuesday
that distances himself from his own remarks and fails to apologize for
maligning the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.
"Senator Santorum's remarks to The Associated Press betray a deep
discrimination against an entire group of Americans that is
inappropriate for a senior leader of the United States Senate. We need
leaders who will unite the country, and affirm the inherent dignity,
value and equality of every citizen — not just the citizens he happens
to like," said HRC Executive Director Elizabeth Birch. "When Trent Lott
made similar comments, he lost his position as majority leader, and it
is time for the Republican Party to consider similar steps with Senator
In the AP profile of Santorum that was published Monday, he likened
homosexuality to incest, bigamy and polygamy. He went on to say that
homosexuality, feminism and liberalism are all threats to the American
On Tuesday, the AP released the full text of Santorum's interview in
which Santorum, while discussing the implications of the constitutional
right to privacy, went on to say, "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 idea is that the state doesn't have the
right to limit individuals' wants and passions. I disagree with that."
"The argument that Senator Santorum is making in his statements is that
granting civil rights to the GLBT community could lead the country to
'man on child' or 'man on dog' sex – which is as hurtful and insensitive
as it is mean-spirited," said Birch. "Most Americans support basic
equality for the country's GLBT community, and this country's leadership
should reflect that."
In a written statement on Tuesday, Santorum said, "My discussion with
The Associated Press was about the Supreme Court privacy case, the
constitutional right to privacy in general, and in context of the impact
on the family. I am a firm believer that all are equal under the
Constitution. My comments should not be misconstrued in any way as a
statement on individual lifestyles."
"Senator Santorum's statement on the AP interview is grossly misleading.
Make no mistake, he absolutely meant to malign the country's GLBT
community and is now trying to backpedal because it is politically
expedient. Santorum is not fit for the leadership role he holds. HRC
is calling on the Republican leadership to demonstrate their
compassionate conservatism and affirm the equality of all Americans by
removing Santorum from his position within the party," said Birch.
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