Politics

Santorum: I would still love my son if he were gay

Will Rahn Senior Editor

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney discussed gay rights during Sunday morning’s NBC News – Facebook Republican presidential debate, and while both men said they opposed same-sex marriage, they also came out forcefully against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Romney, who ran as a moderate on social issues when he ran for statewide office in Massachusetts, said he was just as opposed to discrimination as he was when he ran for the Senate in 1994.

“I don’t discriminate,” he said. “And the appointments I made when I was governor of Massachusetts — a member of my cabinet was gay. I appointed gay people to the bench regardless of their orientation, made it very clear that in my view we should not discriminate in hiring policies, in legal policies.”

At the same time, Romney said, he had always made it clear that he was against gay marriage.

“I oppose same-sex marriage, and that has been my view,” he said. “But if people are looking for someone who will discriminate against gays, or will suggest in any way that people will different sexual orientations should not have full rights in this country, they won’t find that in me.”

The question then turned to Rick Santorum, whose past criticisms of homosexuality landed him in hot water with gay rights groups and led to the creation of a vulgar internet neologism by a gay rights activist often referred to as Santorum’s “Google problem.”

Santorum said that, should he be elected, he would “be a voice for making sure that every person in America, gay or straight, is treated with respect and dignity and has equality of opportunity.”

However, Santorum then said that he did not agree with the gay community on a number of issues, including marriage and adoption rights. He said he would not compromise his beliefs on the subject, while at the same time he insisted that he would remain respectful of people who do not share his views.

“Just because you don’t agree with someone’s desire to change the law doesn’t mean you don’t like them or you hate them or you want to discriminate against them,” he said.

Debate moderator Andy Hiller then asked Santorum what he would do if his son came to him and told him he was gay.

“I would love him as much as I did the second before he said it,” Santorum said, “and I would try to do everything I can to be as good a father to him as possible.”

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