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Rick Santorum compares gay marriage to Dred Scott decision

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

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

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum compared same-sex marriage to the Dred Scott decision that upheld slavery in a debate on Thursday evening.

In the first of two FOX News debates among Republican contenders, the former Pennsylvania senator staked out a familiar position as a socially conservative warrior, saying that Americans could continue to fight against what he called a “rogue Supreme Court decision” by way of a constitutional amendment that would reverse the legalization of same-sex marriage.

In response to a question from moderator Bill Hemmer of whether same-sex marriage was “settled law,” Santorum responded: “It is not, anymore than Dred Scott was settled law to Abraham Lincoln, who in his first inaugural address, said, ‘It won’t stand.'”

Summarizing Chief Justice John Roberts’s dissenting opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, Santorum also said that there was no constitutional basis for the majority’s opinion legalizing same-sex marriage. He also pointed to his work in passing a constitutional amendment to overturn a Supreme Court decision that upheld the right to partial birth abortion as an example of how social conservatives could move forward.

“The Supreme Court found a bill that I was the author of unconstitutional,” Santorum explained. “What did I do? I didn’t say, ‘Oh, we lost, it’s the law of the land.’ We worked together, House and Senate, under my leadership, and we passed a bill that said, ‘Supreme Court, you’re wrong! We’re a co-equal branch of the government. We have every right to stand up and say what is constitutional. We passed a bill with bipartisan support, and the Supreme Court, they sided with us.”

Santorum also said that one of the first acts he would do as president would be to sign into law the First Amendment Defense Act, which would protect those with sincerely held religious beliefs from being forced or compelled by the government to violate those beliefs. This would apply to individuals and businesses who do not wish to comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage or serve LGBT couples or individuals because of their beliefs opposing homosexuality. Santorum said that if Congress had not passed the First Amendment Defense Act by that time, he would issue his own executive order protecting people’s religious liberties from being infringed upon by the government.

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

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