Santorum and gays

For the record: What the senator said, and what other Republicans are saying about it.

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Santorum and gays

The remarks of Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, in an interview with the Associated Press on Monday: “I have no problem with homosexuality. I have a problem with homosexual acts. As I would with acts of other, what I would consider to be, acts outside of traditional heterosexual relationships. And if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything.”

Santorum, on Thursday, in an interview with Fox: “I do not need to give an apology based on what I said and what I’m saying now — I think this is a legitimate public policy discussion. These are not, you know, ridiculous, you know, comments. These are very much a very important point,” he said in an interview with Fox.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer to reporters Friday:

“It’s up to individual senators, of course, to make decisions about their leadership post.

“But the president believes that the senator is an inclusive man. … The president has confidence in Senator Santorum and thinks he’s doing a good job as senator — including in his leadership post.”

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., in a statement Tuesday:

“Rick is a consistent voice for inclusion and compassion in the Republican Party and in the Senate, and to suggest otherwise is just politics.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, in a “Public Affairs” interview Thursday:

“He’s not a person who wants to put down anybody. He’s not a mean-spirited person. Regardless of the words he used, he wouldn’t try to hurt anybody … We have 51 Republicans and I don’t think anyone’s a spokesman for the Republican Party.

“We have a double standard. It seems that the press, when a conservative Republican says something, they jump on it, but they never jump on things Democrats say. So he’s partly going to be a victim of that double standard.”

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, in a statement Tuesday:

Santorum’s choice of words was “regrettable” and his legal analysis “wrong.”

Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, in a statement Wednesday:

“Discrimination and bigotry have no place in our society, and I believe Senator Santorum’s remarks undermine Republican principles of inclusion and opportunity.”

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Sen. Lincoln Chafee, R-R.I., in a statement Wednesday:

“I thought his choice of comparisons was unfortunate and the premise that the right of privacy does not exist — just plain wrong.

“Senator Santorum’s views are not held by this Republican and many others in our party.”

Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., in a public statement:

“I have known Rick Santorum for the better part of two decades, and I can say with certainty he is not a bigot.”

Asked in a New York Times article if this episode might cause problems for Santorum in future elections, Specter responded, “It depends on how it plays out. Washington is a town filled with cannibals. The cannibals devoured Trent Lott without cause. If the cannibals are after you, you are in deep trouble. It depends on whether the cannibals are hungry. My guess is that it will blow over.”

Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., in a statement:

“America and the Republican Party” no longer equate “sexual orientation with sexual criminality.”

“While Rick Santorum intended to reiterate the language of an old Supreme Court decision, he did so in a way that was hurtful to the gay and lesbian community.”

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in an interview Wednesday on MSNBC:

“I think that he may have been inartful in the way that he described it.”

“I believe that — coming from a person who has made several serious gaffs in my career — that the best thing to do is to apologize if you’ve offended anyone. Because I’m sure that Rick did not intend to offend anyone. Apologize if you did and move on.”

Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., on CNBC Wednesday:

“Rick Santorum has done a great job, and is solid as a rock, and he’s not going anywhere.”

Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, to Salon Friday: “No comment.”

Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., in a statement to Salon Friday: “No comment.” (Kolbe is the only openly gay Republican in Congress.)

A dozen other Republican senators contacted Friday did not return calls seeking comment about Santorum’s remarks.

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