My Quiet Life My Quiet Life

Santorum endorses gay marriage

Thomas Lang, from The American Prospect, attended an event sponsored by the Heritage Foundation where Rick Santorum was delivering a speech and provides his account.

The benefits of marriage, Santorum said, can be demonstrated via empirical evidence. He noted that children living with two parents are less likely to be physically abused and less likely to suffer emotional neglect than those living in other arrangements. He went on to say that children in two-parent families are less likely to drop out of high school and tend to stay away from alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs.

Lang then posed a question designed to highlight the inherent contradiction in advocating “marriage protection” but simultaneously condemning gay marriage:

“If our answer to single women for financial stability and welfare is to get married, or that marriage will help them out, what do we tell single gay women? Isn’t that kind of painting a bleak future for them?”

This question was brilliantly phrased, intentionally or unintentionally. If he had simply asked “Isn’t it hypocritical to advocate marriage protection but to exclude gay couples?”, Santorum would have immediately had a light bulb moment and been defensive. Instead, the question seemed innocuous enough that Santorum rambled, thinking out loud long enough to stumble into a logical trap of his own making:

Well, what I would say is that marriage is a healthy relationship for a man and woman to be involved in to have children, and that is shown by the evidence. If someone is not involved in a relationship where children are a possibility then the dynamic is completely different. So I would just make the argument that what we’re focused on here in welfare policy – the direct objective here is women with children and how we establish stable relationships so we can nurture children, and, therefore, have a more stable society going forward. And I’m not suggesting that single men – heterosexual, homosexual – [or] single women – heterosexual, homosexual – without children should get married. I mean that’s – if they want to get married, if that’s the time of their life they want to do that, that’s fine. And I’m not suggesting that it’s financially better or worse for them. I’m suggesting that if you have a child, that you have that additional responsibility – and its additional burden. It’s tough; raising children is tough. I’ve got six at home; I can tell you, it’s tough. That having a partner there that’s a nurturer and – that provides the critical role that men and women – and it’s a different role. I can tell you as a father I provide a whole different set of values, if you will, to my children, than my wife does, just from being a man, and she being a woman. So I think that’s important for the nurturing of children, for the stability of them going forward, and that’s why I would suggest that it’s appropriate for them in those cases.

Woops. “that’s fine”? Someone didn’t stick to the script.

Oh, what a tangled web we weave…