Metro Weekly

Santorum points to ex-gays when asked if being gay is a choice

Santorum also apologized for comparing gay relationships to bestiality

Photo: Rick Santorum. Credit: Gage Skidmore/flickr.

Photo: Rick Santorum. Credit: Gage Skidmore/flickr.

Former Pennsylvania senator and GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum said he does not know if being gay is a choice, but pointed to those who identify as ex-gay as evidence that some people have changed their sexual orientations.

In the second part of a two-part interview on The Rachel Maddow Show, Santorum sparred with MSNBC host Rachel Maddow over a variety of issues, including the role of the Supreme Court, whether Congress could overturn a decision legalizing marriage equality, and his previous comments on same-sex marriage. Maddow asked Santorum whether people choose to be gay, at which point Santorum hedged, saying he did not know,  but he suspects there are a number of reasons influencing whether someone is gay.

“If it’s an immutable characteristic — you don’t know if it’s immutable or not?” Maddow asked.

“I don’t know,” Santorum responded, noting that, if homosexuality is found to be immutable, it raises other issues such as sex-selective abortions. “If you determine that one of your children is gay, shall we pass a law saying you can’t abort a child because you found out that child’s gonna be gay? You can’t abort a child because you found out that child is a woman?”

Maddow again pressed him to answer the question: “Do you think that some people choose to be gay?”

“There are people who are alive today who identified themselves as gay and lesbian and who no longer are,” Santorum said. “I’ve met people in that case. So I guess maybe in that case, maybe they did.”

“You think people can choose to be heterosexual?” Maddow said. “You chose to–“

“All I’m saying is I do know people who have lived a gay lifestyle, and no longer live it,” Santorum replied.

“Do you believe it can be orchestrated, like you can make a person not gay anymore?” Maddow asked.

“I don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about these things, to be honest,” he said.

Throughout the interview, Santorum defended his conservative opposition to marriage equality, arguing that the Supreme Court, over the years, has made decisions on LGBT rights that were not constitutionally-based and open the door to other issues, such as whether plural marriage is legal. Maddow brought up Santorum’s infamous comments from 2003 likening same-sex marriage to “man on dog” relations, which Santorum made when arguing in favor of keeping in place the sodomy laws that were overturned by the Supreme Court in the case of Lawrence v. Texas. Maddow eventually elicited a partial apology from the former senator.

“I’m saying that people will make arguments for consensual activity,” Santorum said, initially defending his comments.

“Why did you say the word ‘dog’?” Maddow asked.

“I was quoting Justice White in his 1986 decision, and that’s why I was referring to his opinion that that was the majority opinion at the time,” Santorum said.

“You see how it hurt gay people to put it that way?” Maddow asked.

“Trust me, I wish I had never said that,” Santorum answered. “It was a flippant comment, made to a reporter who, in my opinion, was not being particularly professional in her interview. But that’s not an excuse for me. I take responsibility for what I said.”

Maddow then asked whether he regretted the comment, to which Santorum responded, “Absolutely, I regret it. It was a flippant comment that never should have come out of my mouth, but the substance of what I said, which is what I’ve referred to, I stand by that…. I wish I hadn’t said it.”

See Maddow’s interview with Santorum below (Video credit: MSNBC).

Feed Your Email
News, Reviews, Contests, Coverboy, Discounts and More!

Metro Weekly's Emails are a great way to stay up-to-date with everything you want to know -- and more!

Email

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

Leave a Comment: