Reacting to comments that include condemnations of liberalism and feminism, Democrats and gay-rights groups have stepped up demands that Republican Senate conference chair Rick Santorum (R-PA) be removed from his leadership post for anti-gay remarks made in an interview with the Associated Press. “Senator Santorum’s comments were unfortunate, and I disagree with him wholeheartedly,” said Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) in a statement. “Those sentiments are out of step with our country’s respect for tolerance, and I hope Senator Santorum would repudiate them.”
In the interview published Monday, Santorum criticized what he called “a whole feminist movement that’s built around the fact that fathers are unnecessary,” according to the AP. After likening consensual gay sex with bigamy, polygamy, incest, and adultery, Santorum also said that “homosexuality, feminism, liberalism all undermine the family.” Already well known for his far-right, anti-abortion viewpoints, he also noted that the constitutional “right to privacy” – which provides the basis for Roe v. Wade and abortion rights in this country – doesn’t exist.
Santorum, who currently holds the Republican Party’s third highest party post, blamed the priest pedophilia scandal in the Catholic Church on liberalism. “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,” he said. “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?”
Given an opportunity to clarify his comments before they were published, Santorum said: “I can’t deny that I said it, and I can’t deny that’s how I feel.”