Where do you draw the moral line regarding sexual behavior? Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), a Catholic, draws the line at homosexuality. Regarding a pending Supreme Court case on the Texas state sodomy law, Santorum told the Associated Press: "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."
This statement was directly in line with the Judeo-Christian values upon which this country is based. Gay and lesbian activist groups immediately attacked him.
Mark Shields, associate director of communications for the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay advocacy organization, told me the remarks were "insulting, it flies in the face of scientific and medical data, common sense and basic decency."
Chris Young, president of the League of Gay and Lesbian Voters, in a phone interview, called Santorum's assertion an "all-out attack against lesbian and gay people."
Michael Heflin, director of the OutFront program (a wing of Amnesty International), told me that Santorum's statement was "outrageous ... totally inappropriate."
All of these organizations called for Santorum to resign as chairman of the GOP conference in the Senate. Under severe pressure, Santorum issued a press release stating that his comments "should not be misconstrued in any way as a statement on individual lifestyles."
While the comparison between homosexuality and bigamy/polygamy/incest/adultery no doubt hurt feelings, none of these gay-rights advocates could explain why the comparison was faulty. How could they? For those who believe in the veracity of the Bible, Santorum merely restated an already accepted view. For those who have an arbitrary moral standard based on personal feeling or logic, consensual acts of bigamy/polygamy/incest/adultery are identical to consensual acts of homosexuality. Eventually, each representative acknowledged to me that any view that accepted homosexuality as moral had to accept bigamy and polygamy as moral, too.
When I asked Shields where Santorum was wrong in his comparison, Shields could only state that "there's a huge difference," without explaining why. He went on to accuse Santorum of "playing to people's most base and deep-seated fears ... (fueling) the kind of prejudice that leads to, often, hate crimes and other kinds of discrimination." Shields refused to comment on whether the HRC would oppose laws against bigamy and polygamy, noting that those causes "are absolutely outside of our mission statement."
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