Excerpts from Santorum's remarks on gays

April 23, 2003

An unedited section of the Associated Press interview, taped April 7, with Sen. Rick Santorum, a Pennsylvania Republican. Words that couldn't be heard clearly on the tape are marked (unintelligible).

AP: If you're saying that liberalism is taking power away from the families, how is conservatism giving more power to the families?

SANTORUM: Putting more money in their pocketbook is one. The more money you take away from families is the less power that family has. And that's a basic power. The average American family in the 1950s paid (unintelligible) percent in federal taxes. An average American family now pays about 25 percent. The argument is, yes, we need to help other people. But one of the things we tried to do with welfare, and we're trying to do with other programs is, we're setting levels of expectation and responsibility, which the left never wanted to do. They don't want to judge. They say, "Oh, you can't judge people. They should be able to do what they want to do." Well, not if you're taking my money and giving it to them. But it's this whole idea of moral equivalency. (unintelligible) My feeling is, well, if it's my money, I have a right to judge.

AP: Speaking of liberalism, there was a story in The Washington Post about six months ago, they'd pulled something off the Web, some article that you wrote blaming, according to The Washington Post, blaming in part the Catholic Church scandal on liberalism. Can you explain that?

SANTORUM: You have the problem within the church. Again, it goes back to this moral relativism, which is very accepting of a variety of different lifestyles. And if you make the case that if you can do whatever you want to do, as long as it's in the privacy of your own home, this "right to privacy," then why be surprised that people are doing things that are deviant within their own home? If you say there is no deviant as long as it's private, as long as it's consensual, then don't be surprised what you get. You're going to get a lot of things that you're sending signals that as long as you do it privately and consensually, we don't really care what you do. And that leads to a culture that is not one that is nurturing and necessarily healthy. I would make the argument in areas where you have that as an accepted lifestyle, don't be surprised that you get more of it.

AP: The right-to-privacy lifestyle?

SANTORUM: The right-to-privacy lifestyle.

AP: What's the alternative?

SANTORUM: In this case, what we're talking about, basically, is priests who were having sexual relations with post-pubescent men. We're not talking about priests with 3-year-olds or 5-year-olds. We're talking about a basic homosexual relationship. Which, again, according to the world-view sense is a perfectly fine relationship as long as it's consensual between people. If you view the world that way, and you say that's fine, you would assume that you would see more of it.

AP: Well, what would you do?

SANTORUM: What would I do with what?

AP: I mean, how would you remedy? What's the alternative?

SANTORUM: First off, I don't believe -

AP: I mean, should we outlaw homosexuality?

SANTORUM: 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 that includes a variety of different acts, not just homosexual. I have nothing, absolutely nothing against anyone who's homosexual. If that's their orientation, then I accept that. And I have no problem with someone who has other orientations. The question is, do you act upon those orientations? So it's not the person, it's the person's actions. And you have to separate the person from their actions.

AP: OK, without being too gory or graphic, so if somebody is homosexual, you would argue that they should not have sex?

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