Santorum accepts the premise of homosexuality, but is strongly against the notion of people acting outside of the norms of a traditional heterosexual relationship, as it undermines ‘the basic tenets of our society and the family’. He explained his stance on the matter in detail in an interview with The Associated Press in 2003. The interview caused an uproar among the LGBT community, eventually resulting in the Dan Savage-led campaign for an alternate definition of ‘Santorum’. Below are the excerpts of the interview.
Santorum: I have no problem with homosexuality. I have a problem with homosexual acts. As I would with acts of other, what I would consider to be, acts outside of traditional heterosexual relationships. And that includes a variety of different acts, not just homosexual. I have nothing, absolutely nothing against anyone who's homosexual. If that's their orientation, then I accept that. And I have no problem with someone who has other orientations. The question is, do you act upon those orientations? So it's not the person, it's the person's actions. And you have to separate the person from their actions.
Associated Press: OK, without being too gory or graphic, so if somebody is homosexual, you would argue that they should not have sex?
Santorum: We have laws in states, like the one at the Supreme Court right now, that has sodomy laws and they were there for a purpose. Because, again, I would argue, they undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family. And 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. It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn't exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution, this right that was created, it was created in Griswold — Griswold was the contraceptive case — and abortion. And now we're just extending it out. And the further you extend it out, the more you — this freedom actually intervenes and affects the family. 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 family.
Every society in the history of man has upheld the institution of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman. Why? Because society is based on one thing: that society is based on the future of the society. And that's what? Children. Monogamous relationships. 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. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality…
Associated Press: I'm sorry, I didn't think I was going to talk about "man on dog" with a United States senator, it's sort of freaking me out.
Santorum: And that's sort of where we are in today's world, unfortunately. The 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. And we're seeing it in our society.
Associated Press: Sorry, I just never expected to talk about that when I came over here to interview you. Would a President Santorum eliminate a right to privacy — you don't agree with it?
Santorum: I've been very clear about that. The right to privacy is a right that was created in a law that set forth a (ban on) rights to limit individual passions. And I don't agree with that. So I would make the argument that with President, or Senator or Congressman or whoever Santorum, I would put it back to where it is, the democratic process. If New York doesn't want sodomy laws, if the people of New York want abortion, fine. I mean, I wouldn't agree with it, but that's their right. But I don't agree with the Supreme Court coming in.
April 23, 2003: Interview with the Associated Press
Santorum on Marriage and Civil Unions
Santorum opposes marriage for non-traditional couples.
Jeffrey: Two men or two women marrying each other – is that a violation of the natural law?
Santorum: I believe it is.
Jeffrey: Should the state sanction that?
Santorum: Well, no.
strong>Jeffrey: If the state takes a child and sticks it into a same-sex couple and allows that same-sex couple to adopt that child, is the state violating the rights of that child?
Santorum: I would say that the state is doing a disservice to that child, and violating the rights, in the sense, I guess, it depends, if there’s no mother and father, there’s no natural mother and father, you can’t be violating the right.
But what I can say is that the state is not doing a service to the child and to society by not putting that child in a home where there is a mother and a father. Mothers, men are different than women, mothers are different than fathers. I have, I’m raising seven children… Fathers bring something different to their daughters than mothers do. I mean, we are just not genetically different – we are different beings. Men are different than women; think different than women, act different than women, as a general rule. And they bring different things.
Both. This is common sense. This is nature. And what we’re trying to do is defy nature because a certain group of people want to be, want to be affirmed by society. And I just don’t think that’s to the benefit of society or to the child.
Jeffrey: Same sex marriage should be prohibited?
Santorum: Yeah (unintelligible)
January 18, 2011: Santorum speaking to CNS News editor-in-chief Terence P. Jeffrey
“The family is the foundation of society. You can’t have different definitions of what is foundation. Marriage between a man and a woman is the glue that holds the family together. It’s essential for a strong and stable society.”
July 26, 2011: Santorum speaking to supporters at a coffee shop in Ankeny, Iowa
Santorum on Same-Sex Adoption
Santorum is against the idea, as he believes that a child, and the family, achieves superior psychological and economic results in a traditional marriage.
“Can you have good stock, solid family with a single parent? Yes you can…
Wayne (unintelligible) used to run the, one of the departments, in the Department of Health and Human Services, used to say, used to give this example when talking about marriage. (unintelligible) … used to be talking about single parenthood versus two parent families.
f you were getting on an airplane and you had a choice between two of them and one airplane would get you there 95 percent of the time and the other plane would get you there 85 percent of the time. What plane would you take?
Well, sure, single parent will get you there most of the time- lots of single parents make great sacrifices and do wonderful things to raise their children, but it, it just isn’t as good. It just isn’t, as good, as having a mom and a dad.
And so, what should society be for? What should society nurture? What should society encourage? We should encourage marriage between a man and a woman and raise their children in a stable environment. That’s what’s best for society.
People have come up to me many times and in fact just as I was in an NRA convention, a lesbian woman walked up to me and said, ‘why are you denying me my right?’ I said, ‘well, because it’s not a right.’ It’s a privilege that society recognizes because society sees an intrinsic value to that relationship over any other relationship - a relationship between an aunt and a niece, a relationship between two good friends, a relationship between a father and a child. It’s, they’re all very important relationships, very key relationship - certainly my relationship with my daughter was a vitally important relationship. But it’s not to a degree that we’re gonna create special privileges and rights in society to encourage that relationship.
And we do (unintelligible) marriage because it has intrinsic value to the society. That’s why it needs to be maintained, that’s why it’s essential for the health of the society and for the economy. Look at the best economists, look for children who do the best, look for families who do the best. What type of household?"
May 2, 2011: Speaking at a Family Leader event, University of Iowa
Santorum on DADT (Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell)
Santorum favors the reinstatement of DADT
Santorum: I would say any type of sexual activity has absolutely no place in the military. The fact they are making a point to include it as a provision within the military that we are going to recognize a group of people and give them a special privilege to, and removing Don't Ask, Don’t Tell. I think tries to inject social policy into the military. And the military's job is to do one thing: and that is to defend our country. We need to give the military, which is all volunteer, the ability to do so in a way that is most efficient and protecting our men and women in a uniform. I believe this undermines that ability...
Megyn Kelly: So what would you do with soldiers like Stephen Hill? I mean, now he is out, you saw his face on camera. When he first submitted this video to us, it was without his face on camera. Now he’s out. So what would you do as president?
Santorum: What we are doing is playing social experimentation with our military right now. That’s tragic. I would just say that going forward we would reinstitute that policy if Rick Santorum was president. Period. That policy would be re-instituted as far as people in, I would not throw them out because that would be unfair to them because of the policy of this administration. But we would move forward in conformity with what was happening in the past. Which was- sex is not an issue. It should not be an issue. Leave it alone. Keep it to yourself whether you are heterosexual or homosexual. January 23, 2012: Fox News Florida Debate
Santorum on ‘Defense of Marriage Act’
Santorum issued a statement in response to Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement that the Obama Administration will stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) against legal actions.
“When the definition of marriage has been put before the people, they have time and time again – from Maine to California – stood up in defense of the traditional family. President Obama’s refusal to defend a law that was overwhelmingly supported on both sides of the aisle and signed into law by a president of his own party is an affront to the will of the people. This is yet another example of our president’s effort to erode the very traditions that have made our country the greatest nation on earth, and it begs the question what language changed in the constitution since 2008 to reverse his position.”