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Santorum calls marriage amendment an opportunity to end 'we should treat people nicely' approach

Max Blumenthal
Published: Thursday June 1, 2006

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On May 24, Republican Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania appeared on the nationally syndicated radio show, "Janet Parshall's America," to discuss the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA), a bill that would amend the Constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

During the broadcast, Santorum called same-sex marriage "harmful to our country," mocked the term "alternative lifestyles" and described the FMA as a means "to counter what Hollywood is purveying to our young people."

He pointed to the film Brokeback Mountain as an example of insidious homosexual influence in popular culture.

While Parshall and Santorum acknowledged the FMA's bleak prospect of passing a full Senate vote, Parshall cast the bill as an attempt to "speak back to the culture." Santorum agreed, declaring that the debate over the FMA would be "an opportunity for us to get beyond, you know, 'We should treat people nicely.'"

Though the FMA is almost certain to fall short of the 67 votes required to amend the Constitution, Santorum and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist have scheduled a vote on it for the week of June 5.

One week after Santorum's appearance on Parshall's show, a poll by Rasmussen Reports showed him trailing Democratic challenger Bob Casey Jr. by a whopping 23 points 56% to 33%. Rasmussen called Santorum the "most vulnerable congressional incumbent this election season."

A transcript of the exchange between Parshall and Santorum follows:


PARSHALL: Senator, you have said this before and I take great comfort from it. Whether or not we get the two thirds we need to get this [Federal Marriage Amendment] moving in the Senate, we win regardless. Every time we have this discussion, every time we speak back to the culture, the importance of the primacy of marriage as it was originally defined as between a man and a woman -- that's a winning posture.

SANTORUM: It is. If you think about it, Janet, from everything from Brokeback Mountain to, you know, all the TV shows that you see promoting and affirming alternative lifestyles -- I guess to put it nicely -- you would think that the culture would eventually just move in the other direction. But I think these kind of debates are the chance for a public discourse to counter what Hollywood is purveying to our young people. Not just what Hollywood is purveying to young people, to all people. And it's an opportunity for us to get beyond, you know, 'We should treat everybody nicely.' I'm for treating everybody nicely, but that doesn't mean that we need to change the law to recognize a form of marriage that is harmful to our country.