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Monday, January 9, 2012

Only Santorum Has Gotten the "Santorum" Treatment

Posted by Dan Savage on Mon, Jan 9, 2012 at 1:29 PM

I may well be "an angry sexual zealot," and my column may be "demented and dehumanizing," and I may have set back "all of [the] progress" made by the gay rights movement over the last 30 years, but my readers and I did not redefine Rick Santorum's last name "because Santorum is pro-life and opposes gay marriage," as Mark Judge argues in a post Saturday over at Real Clear Religion. Barack Obama opposes gay marriage and I sent that man a check. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA)—the dude who handed Rick Santorum his ass back in 2006 (he beat Santorum by 18 points)—is anti-choice and I donated money to Bob Casey (or tried to), encouraged my readers donate, and, if they lived in PA, to vote for Casey despite his position on abortion.

So if it wasn't Rick Santorum's positions on gay marriage and abortion... what was it? Mark Leibovich, in an article in Friday's NYT about what an asshole Santorum is, sums it all up:

Mr. Santorum is particularly fond of canine imagery. His most famous pooch-evoking turn came during a 2003 interview with The Associated Press in which he was discussing marriage and mentioned homosexuality, saying [marriage] is not “man on boy, man on dog.” He once compared Tom Daschle, then the Democratic Senate leader, to a “rabid dog,” and was one of a group of Republican senators who in 2002 called a press conference featuring a pack of bloodhounds to “sniff out” any legislation that the Democratic majority had produced.

A Roman Catholic, Mr. Santorum is drawn to the most divisive issues of the “culture wars”: abortion, euthanasia, gay rights and the role of faith in government institutions. He often uses incendiary language in fighting for his causes. He has compared homosexuality to incest and called the protection of traditional marriage “the ultimate homeland security issue.”

The Globe and Mail gets it too:

Where less-virile candidates rail against abortion, Mr. Santorum denounces even birth control. “One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is, I think, the dangers of contraception in this country,” he told an interviewer last October. “Many of the Christian faith have said, ‘Well, that's okay. Contraception is okay.' It's not okay. It's a licence to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.” He has also used remarkably pungent terms to attack same-sex marriage, comparing it in 2003 to “man-on-child” or “man-on-dog” sex. Those remarks earned the ire of gay-rights activists—including, unfortunately for Mr. Santorum, sex-advice columnist Dan Savage.

It was that 2003 AP interview that lead to the redefinition of Santorum's last name. It wasn't his opposition to gay marriage, which Barack Obama also opposes (or pretends to oppose on teevee), or his anti-abortion stance, which Bob Casey shares. It was Santorum equating loving, committed same-sex relationships with dog fucking and child rape, Mr. Judge, in an interview in which Santorum argued in favor of states being allowed to arrest, prosecute, and imprison Americans—gay and straight—for private, consensual, adult sexual conduct. Santorum cemented our enmity when he went on to compare gay relationships to incest and Islamic terrorism.

As for setting back the gay rights movement: well, gee. I've heard that charge before, Mr. Judge. But I've been running my mouth about gay rights pretty much since the moment I came out nearly 30 years ago, I've been writing my demented and dehumanizing sex-advice column for twenty years, and I've been waging jihad against Rick Santorum for close to ten. And the LGBT rights movement has made enormous strides over the past 30 years despite my mouth and my column and my efforts to make "frothy mix" the first thing that comes to mind when people hear the word "santorum." So either I'm helping, Mr. Judge, or I'm not hurting.

But for the record: I can and do respectfully engage and argue with politicians who disagree with me about marriage equality and choice. I have supported politicians that I disagree with about gay marriage and choice, I have voted for them, even donated to money to their campaigns. But I'm not going to respectfully engage with someone who compares my marriage to child rape, dog fucking, terrorism, and incest.

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