Santorum's Sweeping Social Reaction
May 7, 2003
By Joanne Murphy
Sen Santorum (R-PA) has gotten a lot of controversial press
over his remarks in a recent AP interview. In the interview
he made some colorful comments comparing gay relationships
to bigamy, bestiality and a host of other questionable practices.
But buried in the AP transcript was the face of a GOP far
more sinister and extreme than one that would simply criticize
consensual same-sex relationships. By focusing only on what
Santorum said about gays, and allowing the GOP to defend him
purely on that basis, the mass media has done the nation a
disservice: it has helped to obfuscate the facts of exactly
how extreme Santorum's views really are.
Unfortunately, a great number of Americans still are not
ready to embrace gay rights - particularly, I presume, the
ones who comprise the GOP base. But take a look at what old
Hardwick Rick actually says:
"...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. Does that undermine the fabric of our society?
I would argue yes, it does. It all comes from, I would argue,
this right to privacy that doesn't exist in my opinion in
the United States Constitution, this right that was created,
it was created in Griswold - Griswold was the contraceptive
case - and abortion. And now we're just extending it out.
And the further you extend it out, the more you - this freedom
actually intervenes and affects the family. You say, well,
it's my individual freedom Yes, but it destroy's the basic
unit of our society because it condones behavior that's antithetical
to strong, healthy families. "
Many Americans are not old enough to immediately "get" the
Griswold reference The 1965 Griswold vs. Connecticut
decision gave married couples in this country the legal right
to access birth control. Apparently, Rick thinks this decision
was a mistake. When I read this, my heart stopped. "Geez Louise,"
I said to myself. "If this guy's got a problem with Griswold
vs. Connecticut - what does that mean for us? Exactly
how far back would he like to see the country taken?" The
seventeenth century, perhaps - with pillories in the public
It has become a GOP mantra lately to remind us all that there
is no "right to privacy" explicitly guaranteed by the Constitution.
Well, explicitly, no - but the Supreme Court knew that in
1965 just as anyone who can read, knows it now. The esteemed
Justices of that day, after deliberating, concluded in a 7-to-2
ruling that there was an inherent right to privacy
which would subsequently grant Americans the right to make
private decisions about their birth control and sexuality
outside the purview of government surveillance and regulation.
Stating over and over again that "there is no right to privacy
in the Constitution," then, is merely fatuous and ignores
the role of the Supreme Court in interpreting the law. Must
we all now be Constitutional "Fundamentalists" as well as
Biblical Fundamentalists, to please the Republican Party?
The Constitution also does not explicitly guarantee the right
to digital cable. Does that mean it's okay for it to be outlawed?
The notion that one is only entitled to the rights explictly
guaranteed by the Constitution is a dangerously narrow and
fascistic interpretation of our body of laws.
All due respect to the gay rights issues notwithstanding
- it is crucial that Americans are made aware that Santorum's
cultural views are far, far to the right of what would be
generally accepted cultural thought in this day and age. Even
if many Republicans would not argue in favor of gay rights,
I think precious view of them would agree with Mr Santorum
that married couples should not have the right to legalized
This is part of a pattern of the GOP working to conceal the
extremism of much of its party while attempting to present
a "moderate" mask to the nation. Even if one buys the flimsy
argument that they should have the right to this kind of deception
- and I certainly don't - the media should not be their handmaidens
in this dangerous charade.