Santorum cites Declaration of Independece to deny gays marriage "privileges"

Posted by JD Uy
January 7, 2012 4:19 PM |

Gay marriage and contraception foe Rick Santorum was booed again Friday for proclaiming that gay relationships are not worthy of marriage rights. He quoted the Declaration of Independence's use of "Nature's God" to justify his argument that marriage benefits are a privilege which only heterosexual couples deserve:

''Marriage is a privilege. It is not a right. It is privilege given by society, held up by society for purposes that it provides some societal good -- and I would make the argument, some extraordinary societal good.

''It's not an inalienable right. If it was an inalienable right, then you can imagine all the different types of marriages that would have happen. And of course, marriage is an essential good. Because it provides something unique in society. It provides and reflects nature and Nature's God -- words from the Declaration of Independence -- which is man and woman coming together to form a bond and have children and continue society in a way that gives children their birthright, which is their mother and their father.

''And society holds up this institution to encourage what is best for that child and what is best for society. So, it's not discrimination not to grant privileges. It's discrimination to deny rights. I don't want to deny rights to any one. Everyone has a right to live their life. It doesn't mean that they're entitled to certain privileges that society gives for benefits that society obtains from those relationships.''

Santorum's mixing and matching of historical documents and religious beliefs is nothing new from the former politician who regularly implores his audiences to agree with his obsessive ponderings about homosexuality, polygamy, incest, and man-on-dog sex.

He does appear to have at least one gay defender. On Friday, Robert Traynham, a former aide to Santorum, told Chris Matthews of Hardball that he thought Santorum believes gays have a Constitutional right to be with whomever they choose. But even as he defended his former boss' reputation, Traynham still declared that he fundamentally disagreed with Santorum about the right to be married.

Santorum's wrongheaded definition of rights vs. privileges does not explain why he continues to claim that heterosexual marriages alone deserve special government benefits. Such "privileged" benefits are supported by all tax-paying Americans including gay couples. What "societal good" comes from denying same-sex couples their fair share?

His references to "birthrights" (a term usually associated with citizenship and inheritance) make no sense, either. Procreation and stability are neither a requirement for the issuance of a marriage license nor are they exclusive features of heterosexual unions.

And Santorum's outtake from the Declaration completely misconstrues the purpose of that great document. It was a list of grievances against the King of Britain and an expression of intent for our Land to separate from England's "oppressions." There is nothing about marriage; nothing about men and women coming together; nothing about special privileges for baby makers; no birthrights; and no establishment of religious tradition as the basis of American law. One could find, though, an inspirational message about the people's right to throw off and replace long-established forms of government which cause them to suffer.

The right of one unrelated adult to join another, regardless of gender, has already been recognized as valid marriage law in a number of countries and U.S. states. Santorum, however, frequently argues that marriage is to be regulated at the state level; then he contradicts himself by saying both Federal and Constitutional definitions need to be established in order to ban gay and lesbian marriages. Unfortunately, Santorum's convoluted arguments in favor of restricting citizens to definitions of "traditional marriage" are also shared by his fellow Presidential candidates. 

Read about the other Republican candidates views from their Saturday night debate.

Opinionated? Take our latest Metro Weekly poll. Win free movie passes!


Please Leave a Comment