Sunday, April 27, 2003

Santorum - What It Says About the GOP


I haven't blogged in a dog's age, but have been thinking about Santorum a lot, and thought I would share my thoughts with the random people who show up on this site searching for information on Avril Lavigne's boyfriend. (Wierdly, that's the most common search that brings people to my page. It's so wierd that I've done several searches on Avril Lavigne's boyfriend to try to point people in the right direction, but I've come up with zero).

What Santorum Did Say



I've read through the transcript, and I think it's safe to conclude that Santorum meant to say the following things:

  • Santorum believes that the "right to sexual privacy," if recognized, would logically extend not only to homosexuality, but also to other consensual sexual relationships, such as polygamy, adultery and incest. This isn't that crazy of an idea, and after thinking about it, I'm in favor of legalizing polgamy, adultery, and incest, but I wouldn't do it though the Supreme Court. (Also, Santorum's technically wrong about polygamy and adultery - those are laws about marriage, not about sex. Finding a constitutional right to gay marriage might logically lead to recognition of other "non-traditional" marital relationships, but finding a constitutional right to gay sex is only on a logical line with other non-marital sexual relationships


  • Santorum believes that the voters, not the courts, should have the right to decide which sexual relationships should be regulated. Again, not a crazy idea. As a pro-legalization person, I can tell you that a lot of the arguments against adult incest or bestiality sound as flimsy and made up to me as the arguments against legalization of homosexual sex. That's exactly why I would put this issue to the voters.


  • Santorum would personally vote for state laws outlawing sodomy, and, I think, adultery, incest, and polygamy. As I discuss below, this is actually the most troubling part of the interview in my opinion, both politically and morally.


What Santorum Didn't Say



  • Sandorum Didn't Exactly Say Homosexuality Was the Same as Adultery, Incest, and Polygamy. However, he came pretty close. Specifically, he said that it was up to the voters to decide what kind of sexual relationships were harmful to the "family," and that he would vote against a law to legalize sodomy because he believed it was harmful to the family. (Well, on second thought, that's close enough that I should probably move it up to the first category of "things he did say.")


  • Santorum Didn't Say that "Bedroom Police" Should Be Getting Search Warrants to Search for Sodomy. Santorum didn't say anything at all about enforcement. Historically, the anti-sodomy laws have worked something like the seatbelt laws in most states - the police can't stop you for not wearing a seat belt, but if they stop you for any other legal reason, they can ticket you. Presumably, even a rarely enforced sodomy law expresses public disapproval over the practice and holds out some potential deterrence. (It might also be an effective anti-prostitution measure, but I've never heard of its use in that context.)


  • Santorum Didn't Say Homosexuality Was the Same as Bestiality or Child Abuse. Specifically, after he said that he believed sodomy (which includes heterosexual sex in many cases) was harmful to marriages, he then said:
    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.

    So as distasteful as the rest of the paragraph is, the "man on child" sentence appears to be making a distinction, not a comparison. (I.e. - "although I have argued homosexuality is harmful to marriage, I should stress that it's not an evil in itself, like child abuse"). I mean, if Santorum had said: "that's not to pick on homosexuality - it's not murder or rape," we'd all know what he meant.



I'll try to get to the political and moral implications for the GOP later.