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Santorum debates students on gay 'marriage'

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
CONCORD, N.H. (BP) -- Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum is being applauded by social conservatives and criticized by liberals for comparing gay "marriage" to polygamy during an exchange at a New Hampshire college.

The comparison is nothing new for Santorum, who made the argument during floor speeches as a U.S. senator, but it is getting more attention now because of his strong showing in the Iowa caucuses. New Hampshire holds its primary Tuesday.

The exchange before a crowd at New England College began when a member of the audience asked Santorum why he wanted to deny a gay couple their happiness with his opposition to gay "marriage."

"Are we saying that everyone should have the right to marry?" Santorum asked the crowd, with many members hollering "yes."

"So anyone can marry anybody else?" he asked again.

"Yes," several shouted.

"So anybody can marry several people?" Santorum asked.

"That's not what we're asking," one woman shouted.

After a series of objections, Santorum tried to quiet the crowd and said, "Wait a minute.... I'm just positing some things you need to think about.

"So if everybody has a right to be happy so you're not happy unless you're married to five other people, is that OK?" he asked.

One person said it's irrelevant.

"No, it's not irrelevant," Santorum responded.


He continued, "If it makes three people happy to get married, based on what you just said, what makes that wrong and what you said right?"

After another series of shouts of outrage from the audience, Santorum said, "It's important that if we're going to have a discussion based on rational, reasoned thought, that we employ reason. And reason says that if you think it's OK for two, then you have to differentiate with me as to why it's not OK for three."

Finally, a woman in the audience, told Santorum, "My personal opinion is, yeah, go for it."

If the woman's opinion represents widespread belief, Santorum said, then "marriage really means whatever you want it to mean."

Marriage should remain the union of a man and a woman, Santorum said, because of its unique nature and benefits to society

"I believe we are made that way," he said. "God made man and woman, and men and women come together to have a union to produce children, which keeps civilization going, and provide the best environment for children to be raised. I think that is something that society should value and should give privileged status.


"The uniqueness of marriage," he continued, "is that it provides intrinsic good to society."

By its very nature, Santorum said, gay "marriage" prevents children from having a mother or father.

Every child in the world "deserves to know and be loved by their mother and their father, and when we say that is not the case ... then I think ... we are harming children, we are harming society.

The exchange can be viewed on YouTube at

Michael Foust is associate editor of Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook ( and in your email (

Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press

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