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Trent Lott: The Sequel
April 23, 2003 7:38 AM   Subscribe

Trent Lott: The Sequel, in which Conference Committee Chairman Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) gives an interview to AP in which he blames the recent Catholic Church scandals on a cultural tolerance of consensual "deviance"; i.e. homosexuality [more inside].
posted by Vetinari (109 comments total)

 
tha transcript's funny -- or scary, it depends on your sense of humor -- as hell, really.

choice bits:
"I have no problem with homosexuality. I have a problem with homosexual acts. "

and:
"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".

the depiction of paedophilic rape as "basic homosexual relationship" by a prominent national lawmaker is, well, interesting. not that anything bad for Santorum will happen, anyway. he'll just say the taped conversation is unrealiable, and San Francisco is a notorious godless commie terrorist homosexual bastion.

Anyway I love the AP interviewer MontyPython-ish reaction:
"AP: I'm sorry, I didn't think I was going to talk about "man on dog" with a United States senator, it's sort of freaking me out. "
Indeed
posted by matteo at 7:51 AM on April 23, 2003


From Andrew Sullivan-

"It turns out that once again, an important quote has been bungled by a journalist. Here's the critical quote:

[I]f 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.

...Santorum meant any sex outside heterosexual, married, procreative sex. And he's insistent in opposing any tolerance by the government of sexual desires or wants that the government deems a threat to society:

The idea is that the state doesn't have rights to limit individuals' wants and passions. I disagree with that. I think we absolutely have rights because there are consequences to letting people live out whatever wants or passions they desire.

Wow. I've long heard of people talking about individual rights against the government. I have rarely heard about the government's rights against the individual."
posted by leotrotsky at 8:00 AM on April 23, 2003


Mr. Santorum, If you have time worry about two grown people of whatever gender fucking, especially given your occupation, I submit that you have waaaay too much free time, which does bode well for your constituents.
posted by jonmc at 8:01 AM on April 23, 2003


AP: I'm sorry, I didn't think I was going to talk about "man on dog" with a United States senator, it's sort of freaking me out.

woof
posted by victors at 8:02 AM on April 23, 2003


Okay, so a Republican senator, especially a conservative "family-values" ladder-climber like Santorum, thinking homosexuality is bad is not news. Neither, really, was a deep-Southern former segregationist not being able to get his head around the idea that African Americans have rights too. What's so surprising here is that - especially in the wake of the Lott scandal - the conservative leadership wouldn't have given him a talking-to about not saying stuff like this to reporters:
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.... We have laws in states, like the one at the Supreme Court right now, that has sodomy laws and they were there for a purpose. Because, again, I would argue, they undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family. 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 destroys the basic unit of our society because it condones behavior that's antithetical to strong, healthy families. Whether it's polygamy, whether it's adultery, where it's sodomy, all of those things, are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family.
Lott lost his post over fifteen seconds of running off at the mouth, which may seem a little excessive (even moreso if you happen to believe that African Americans don't have rights, I digress). But Santorum is here, rambling on for minutes, essentually repeating the (generally discredited) evangelical party line that homosexuality is a curable (or at least repressible) disease, maintaining that there is no right to privacy (and therefore that it is well within the government's right to tell you what to do with your reproductive hardware and to whom, all in the name of "preserving the family" -- on preview, what leotrotsky said), and defending nineteenth-century (or older) morality laws that most states are dismantling.
posted by Vetinari at 8:03 AM on April 23, 2003


leotrotsky: I was just making a similar point in my livejournal. In 1984, Orwell makes the point that a totalitarian state must control the sexual passions of its people, lest these urges develop into full-fledged subversion of the state.

I think it interesting that a U.S. Congressman is making a similar claim.
posted by meep at 8:06 AM on April 23, 2003


As a historical note, sex related problems in the Catholic church have traditionally not been solely homosexual in nature. It was quite common in the middle ages and Renaissance for clergy to keep mistresses or common law wives. Some even had children. (In fact, some of the popes had children!) Of course, all this was against church law, but everyone looked the other way. Incidentally, this is one of the main reasons that when the Protestant churches were being formed, clergy weren't required to be celibate.
posted by unreason at 8:06 AM on April 23, 2003


I will cynically say that nothing will happen to this guy in the way of getting Lotted. In this day and age, racially biased comments will usually get a public figure in trouble. Anti-woman comments, perhaps so. Homophobic comments, much less likely. Because there are still so many people who share this maroon's hangups.
posted by NorthernLite at 8:19 AM on April 23, 2003


How is this Trent Lott the sequel? Santorum is sticking by his original words and sentiment, Lott backed down like a frightened weasel.

Both are still nasty people, but still...
posted by xmutex at 8:28 AM on April 23, 2003


NorthernLite, I see your point, but I hope you're wrong. Santorum obviously believes he can get away with this - and in a media culture where one party can brazenly announce their plans to tie a re-election campaign to a national tragedy, only to be met with shrugs, it seems like a good bet - but let's recall that Lott also thought he could get away with it. And he did, until a week's worth of outrage from bloggers finally percolated back to the pundits and they started talking about what this guy was actually saying. I'd love to see a similar thing happen to Santorum.

The tide is (slowly) turning, and gay people (token Lincoln Logs like Andrew Sullivan aside) are becoming more vocal about this sort of nonsense. Let this be a watershed. Send Santorum to the back ranks, and let the message to other right-wing bozos be, to quote the chickenhawks, "you're next!"
posted by soyjoy at 8:34 AM on April 23, 2003


I wonder how Santorum feels about bukkake?
posted by vito90 at 8:43 AM on April 23, 2003


How is this Trent Lott the sequel?
  1. Leading Republican lawmaker makes inappropriately socially conservative comment, disparaging approximately 10%-15% of the electorate.
  2. Members of the disparaged group say "off with'is 'ead!"
  3. Republicans make statements about blowing things out of proportion.
  4. The few Democrats with any fight left in them make statements about how all Republicans are (racists|homophobes).
  5. Tom Daschle makes a surprisingly weak comment about being disappointed.
  6. Ari Fleischer refuses to allow the White House to be drawn into such partisan bickering, as it would distract them from the War On Terror (tm).
  7. Media pressure builds.
  8. The White House (and/or its political advisors) finally decides to get quietly involved when they realize that this situation may convince the American public that the Republican Party is the party of (lynching|sexual repression), not the Party of National Security.
  9. Said lawmaker's climb up the party ladder ends.
We're at #6 now.
posted by Vetinari at 8:50 AM on April 23, 2003


His logic can be amusingly (and unsettlingly) applied to so many things:

I have no problem with kindness. I have a problem with kind acts.

I have no problem with politics. I have a problem with political acts.

I have no problem with religion. I have a problem with religious acts.

posted by grabbingsand at 8:51 AM on April 23, 2003


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. [my emphasis]

I'm not reading this as entirely anti-homosexual. This is the same fundementalist crap denouncing any sex other than heterosexual (missionary position, but of course) intercourse for the explicit purpose of creating a baby. I feel so sorry for his wife.
posted by AstroGuy at 8:53 AM on April 23, 2003


On a semi-related note, the great state of Texas is trying to pass legislation to forbid unmarried adults from serving as foster parents. According to the article, the backers of the bill pretty much admit that this is especially targeting homosexuals.

When did this turn into 1954?
posted by LittleMissCranky at 8:53 AM on April 23, 2003


Oh man, I did *not* want to see the b-word today.
posted by donkeymon at 8:55 AM on April 23, 2003


It was quite common in the middle ages and Renaissance for clergy to keep mistresses or common law wives.

It was so common that we have a word - nepotism - that comes directly from this practice. "Celibate" clergy had plenty of children that had to be considered "nephews" (kind of like Donald Duck's situation), yet the bishops, cardinals and yes, definitely, popes, were not satisfied with simple carnality - they wanted to skirt the whole purpose of the celibacy rule (keeping church property from being bequeathed to male heirs) and pass favors to their sons in the form of appointments to offices that came with power and land (Alexander VI carried this to the limit). That practice of hiring your "nephews" is nepotism.

Is this relevant to Santorum? I'd say so. Since his whole problem with homosexuality (oh, sorry, with homosexual acts) is with the undermining of the moral fabric of a culture, and since he cites this particular culture (the Catholic Church) as part of his argument, he at least has to deal with the flagrant hypocrisy therein, as well as the question of which "transgression" does more damage to the moral authority of the culture in question - especially since it's not as if heterosexual abuse among clerics has disappeared in modern times.
posted by soyjoy at 8:56 AM on April 23, 2003


The idea is that the state doesn't have rights to limit individuals' wants and passions. I disagree with that. I think we absolutely have rights because there are consequences to letting people live out whatever wants or passions they desire.

Ho-Lee Fuck!
posted by Ufez Jones at 9:00 AM on April 23, 2003


Dunno, there, Senator. I think you can maintain a right to privacy without hurting the traditional family a hell of a lot more easily than you can interfere with a right to privacy without affecting all those family members adversely.
posted by alumshubby at 9:01 AM on April 23, 2003


Your slips are showing, girls. Most of this blather represents the same fervent hope for thought control you accuse right wing ideologues of - just as long as it's your version it's OK, right? You want free speech? You got it, whether you like the content or tone of it or not - quit bitchin'
posted by Pressed Rat at 9:03 AM on April 23, 2003


Actually I encourage this kind of free speech. I also encourage it's natural consequences, where people acknowledge that it's a stupid thing to say and an indicator of beliefs that make the man unfit for his job as a legislator. How is that repressive?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 9:07 AM on April 23, 2003


its
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 9:08 AM on April 23, 2003


And this isn't ringing friggin' alarm bells everywhere? NO ONE's come out to say, "Y'know, that was just wrong."
This link contains his press release response to the AP story - what a crock!

Combine this with the CARE Act and you get the idea that this guy is just owned.
posted by FormlessOne at 9:16 AM on April 23, 2003


Your slips are showing, girls.

WTF?

Most of this blather represents the same fervent hope for thought control you accuse right wing ideologues of

Again, um, WTF?

Am I missing something, ratty, or is this total nonsense? Who's accusing anyone of 'thought control,' and who is advocating controlling Santorum's thoughts - or, for that matter his speech???
posted by soyjoy at 9:19 AM on April 23, 2003


PinkStainlessTail: Agreed - just as he has the right to say it, we have the right to refute it.

What bothers me is that he has the right to enact what he believes, over the protests of those who do not agree. I believe in separation of church and state; he (and that jackass Lieberman) put together the CARE Act.
I believe that two consenting adults can do whatever they hell they want to each other sexually; he's backing up the odious sodomy laws, leftovers of a repressive climate.

All I can say is, I hope the good folks of Pennsylvania are paying attention and respond in kind come his next election day...
posted by FormlessOne at 9:20 AM on April 23, 2003


On a semi-related note, the great state of Texas is trying to pass legislation to forbid unmarried adults from serving as foster parents.

Seems reasonable to me.
posted by Witty at 9:22 AM on April 23, 2003


Big mistake these "conservative" folks make: the fundamental unit of society is NOT the "family" (whatever that may mean), but FREE INDIVIDUALS. The right to form a family is a derivative to the right to free association.

It's a constitution, folks.
posted by yesster at 9:23 AM on April 23, 2003


notorious godless commie terrorist homosexual bastion.

I'm just trying to picture a communist terrorist homosexual army. What are we talking about here, muscular men in designer fatigues and chiffon turbans, hijacking planes and redecorating them while chanting "Workers Of The World Unite?"
posted by jonmc at 9:24 AM on April 23, 2003


Talk radio had a field day slamming Rick so far today. It's quite interesting listening to the libertarian talk show hosts pick apart the conservative callers that support Ricks social views.
posted by ZupanGOD at 9:24 AM on April 23, 2003


Just to back up my previous assertion: constitutional law holds that the individual is the basic unit of society.
posted by yesster at 9:30 AM on April 23, 2003


Pressed Rat: You had it about right, but the silly condescension of your blathering tends to defuse it. Typical useless troll post - can't find something useful to say, so instead he (it has to be a "he" - who else would use sexist terminology to complain about fellow MeFi posters?) decides to denigrate existing posts in order to feed a need for attention.

What we're "bitchin'" about is not the right of free speech, but the fact that this guy is willing to happily repress the rights of others because of his own conservative beliefs. If this was some chucklehead in the street, I wouldn't care - he could happily rant about how sodomy is evil and unholy in the eyes of whatever God he worships. I have the right to ignore him. But, this guy has the ability to then force those beliefs on others. That's the issue. Once that happens, I no longer have the right, or even the ability, to ignore him - doing so means invasion of privacy, fines, and arrest (in the case of these stupid sodomy laws.) And this chucklehead is all for that because, after all, if it weren't for the relaxation of personal freedoms, priests wouldn't be shanking altar boys? Please.
posted by FormlessOne at 9:30 AM on April 23, 2003


Hey, Rat. No one said he didn't have the right to say it. Only how stupid, ignorant, and wrong it was to say it. And that someone is a position to craft national priorities (ie, a leadership position) should step down from said position if they cannot serve the ENTIRE population.

Another strawman, burned.
posted by terrapin at 9:34 AM on April 23, 2003


Again,

The idea is that the state doesn't have rights to limit individuals' wants and passions. I disagree with that. I think we absolutely have rights because there are consequences to letting people live out whatever wants or passions they desire.

The state does. There are laws against bigamy and incest. There are ages of consent. There are laws against beastiality, even if it flies under the banner of animal abuse (which it is, among other things.) No one disputes the existence of these laws. Santorum's not worried about that, whatever he says. Instead, he somehow feels that his rights are infringed upon by two unmarried, unrelated and consenting adults touching each other in the privacy of their home. That threatens his rights as a human being. How can that be? It's ludicrous on the face of it.


Most of this blather represents the same fervent hope for thought control you accuse right wing ideologues of - just as long as it's your version it's OK, right?

The only thought control being discussed in this thread is Santorum's apparent desire to squash wants and desires incompatible with his personal beliefs. I don't see where anyone has accused him of anything he hasn't opened his mouth about (like, say, taking over the world.) I do see him being taken at his word.


You want free speech? You got it, whether you like the content or tone of it or not - quit bitchin'

And here we have the Right's notion of 1st Amendment rights in a nutshell: the right to tell someone to shut up when they say something you disagree with. Don't debate them, don't argue with them, just shut them up. Forget the notion that discourse, debate and differences of opinion are necessary and healthy in a free society; if you disagree with the Right, you have (ironically) the right to remain silent.
posted by trondant at 9:36 AM on April 23, 2003


trondant: Only with the more fanatical; I've got a few friends who lean to the right that enjoy debating their positions with me. But, I do generally have to agree that the most visible, these days, are the most fanatical of the right. This phenomenon also occurs on the fanatical left, too - I believe it's not a symptom of political outlook, but instead one of fanaticism in general, in that the stronger and more polarized your opinion, the less likely you are to want to hear conflicting opinions.
posted by FormlessOne at 9:43 AM on April 23, 2003


Pressed Rat: Most of this blather represents the same fervent hope for thought control you accuse right wing ideologues of - just as long as it's your version it's OK, right? You want free speech? You got it

Who's censoring anybody? I want everybody to know what this guy said. Maybe we can make him feel ashamed, although I doubt it.

Maybe it's just my imagination, but it seems like every time a liberal criticizes something a conservative says, conservatives try to characterize it as an attack on conservative free speech, complete with words like "lockstep" and "groupthink". Jeez, when did conservatives ever have a problem finding a voice in this country?
posted by RylandDotNet at 9:44 AM on April 23, 2003


Apropos of Vetinari's list above, a key distinction between Santorum and Trent Lott is that the White House (more specifically, Karl Rove) wanted Lott deposed so as to get someone more pliable in as Senate Majority Leader. Does anyone know of a similar difficulty with Santorum's position in congressional leadership?
posted by palancik at 9:50 AM on April 23, 2003


His comments are completely anti-homosexual. If he didn't care about gay people and their presence in his society, then he would never even bring up that topic. It would not be an issue for him and would therefore have no presence in his comments. Homo desire is no different that hetero desire, which makes it no less natural than straight yearnings for sex.

The very idea that the Supreme Court can have a say in my sex life is so frightening. Polygamy, incest, adultery are not my cup of tea personally, but if performed by CONSENTING ADULTS, who are any of us to judge these things as "wrong." The nuclear family as a standard has been disappearing for, oh, at least 30 years. Webster's doesn't even use the words "man" and "woman" in its definition of "family." I'm scared that dictionaries are more culturally evolved than my lawmakers.

I'd be very interested in reading statistics on the number of adulterers in this country. Combine that with the figures for the amount of divorced people in this country, and these are far bigger threats to the "family" than gay people getting bust behind closed doors.

I have no problem with homosexuality. I have a problem with homosexual acts.

So what's his solution then? Keep gay sex illegal? Supress a whole segment of the population. Force them into sham marriages for the sake of saving the family? Do we need to remind the distinguished senator what happens when you supress a significant population of people?

We have laws in states, like the one at the Supreme Court right now, that has sodomy laws and they were there for a purpose.

And the purpose is . . . . .?
posted by archimago at 9:52 AM on April 23, 2003


So Santorum thinks adultery is illegal.... Hmmmm
posted by Slagman at 9:54 AM on April 23, 2003


"I wonder how Santorum feels about bukkake?"

He didn't like it much at first, but once he learned to let go of his inhibitions he started to enjoy it. He's covered the entire floor of his office in plastic and frequently can be seen in the halls of Congress attempting to "round up a quorum", if you get my drift.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:00 AM on April 23, 2003


FormlessOne,

I'll cop to using too broad a brush on that one, and to the same tendency at the other extreme. In the belief that more speech is better than less, I'd love to see Santorum explain exactly how his rights are threatened by this.
posted by trondant at 10:02 AM on April 23, 2003


If my being gay is helping destroy the traditional family, then I continue to wear the banner with pride. Many gays learn the hard way that real family is the one you define for yourself and not necessarily the one you are born into. Given that the pressure to conform to both religious and state-sponsored ideals of family has led to so much suffering, it's a shame we can't move beyond it.
posted by troybob at 10:04 AM on April 23, 2003


As sad as it is, the rights of homosexuals and the naturalness of homosexuality are still "up for debate" according to many Americans represented by groups like Concerned Women for America, which released a statement saying Santorum was "exactly right." Rather than turn moderate voters off, Sanorum's statements will likely galvanize conservative voters to rally around him in support of so-called "family values."
posted by mariko at 10:06 AM on April 23, 2003


Santorum said pretty explicitly that the state had an interest and the right to insert itself into the private sexual lives of consenting adults, regardless of orientation. To me, that's a big warning light for anyone with even a passing interest in non-vanilla sex, which to me means pretty much everyone (I could be wrong, but that whole porn industry has to be serving someone, right?).

In my opinion, this man reveals an agenda far more dangerous and far more insidious then the ugly residue of racism that rightly brought Lott down, and it makes me angry that he may suffer no repercussions for it. It's not just about homosexuality, but it's about christian fundamentalism at a level as dangerous as the Islamic fundamentalism they're trying to quash.

Santorum feels perfectly justified in letting the world know of his agenda, and that is the most frightening thing of all. He thinks the climate is a good one for thought police and sex police and patriotic McCarthysim. Sadly, he's read it right.
posted by answergrape at 10:08 AM on April 23, 2003


Seems the Republicans are not the party of smaller government at all!

Who grows the government the most?

Who grows government spending the most?

Who wishes to control the most private parts of a person's life?

And while I'm on it, whatever happened to the "fiscal conservatism" cries from the right?

Talk the talk but never walk the walk? Just asking.
posted by nofundy at 10:08 AM on April 23, 2003


I am concentrating all my rage into a point. I control that point. I control my anger. I am at peace with that point. I am at peace with my anger. J'ai guru deva om.

First off, I would like to kindly repeat my suggestion that Mr. Santorum and anyone who shares his sentiments meet me in person, so that I may piss on you. I'm not sure if watersports are illegal under his beloved sodomy laws, but I'd gladly break the law for this opportunity.

Second, I would like to respectfully ask how this sort of crap is still apparently o.k. in the Republican Party. Yes, the Democrats have much to answer for. The difference is, they do answer for it. Meanwhile, the Republicans tend to leave their bigotry unrepressed and unanswered for. And as in this case, with Santorum, GOP bigotry often has direct legislative consequences, while Democratic bigotry tends to stay within the realm of the unfortunate verbal gaffe. It's exactly this intolerance that has a 19-year-old gay boy rotting away in prison for 18 years because of a blow job.* It's exactly this intolerance that causes blacks to be incarcerated for drug possession at rates far beyond their representation in the illicit drug-abusing population.* How is this sort of hatred defensible or dismissable on any level? I mean [I control my anger. I am at peace with my anger.], I humbly inquire, why haven't these people gotten the god damned clue? Why are they still in office??
posted by grrarrgh00 at 10:14 AM on April 23, 2003


well put answergrape...
posted by machaus at 10:24 AM on April 23, 2003


When did this turn into 1954?

It simultaneously became 1954 and 1984 in November, 2000.
posted by NorthernLite at 10:24 AM on April 23, 2003


this is the problem with those on the right - for some reason they think that our gay citizens and what they might do in thier bedrooms are a threat - yet want more accessibility to handguns and other firearms .... WTF???

here in minneapolis - if a gay couple moves in on the block it almost always is good news for the nieghborhood, if a gun toting, flag waving, orielly watching couple moves in .... almost always bad.
posted by specialk420 at 10:25 AM on April 23, 2003


I belive Sigur Ros would tell us this is good weather for airstrikes.
posted by WolfDaddy at 10:28 AM on April 23, 2003


If Santorum was really concerned about the breakup of the traditional family, he'd be protesting the industrial revolution. When is it comes to radical reorganization of traditional families and communities, nothing else has come close.

In other news, this latest GOP bigot eruption has inspired me to action. Much like how those "drugs cause terrorism" ads cuase me to blaze up a J, I'm now out the door to rent myself a boy for the afternoon. Cheers!
posted by Ty Webb at 10:28 AM on April 23, 2003


All else aside, it's painfully hilarious that a member of the GOP is trying to pin kid-fucking Catholic priests on non-Catholic, non-kid-fucking non-priests.
posted by bingbangbong at 10:47 AM on April 23, 2003


The hypocrisy on the right is absolutely astounding.

These are the folks who cry for government to keep its nose out of the rape of the land, lead/cyanide o' plenty in children's drinking water, and outright theft by big business....while demanding that government watchdogs take a seat in your bedroom and your library. They exhort us to "free" the people of other lands (well....at least those lands with proven oil reserves), while decrying the expression of dissent at home and ramming their own warped religious views down our throats.

When will our so-called "compassionate conservatives" begin calling for Santorum to resign from the Senate?

~waits~
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 10:51 AM on April 23, 2003


...a key distinction between Santorum and Trent Lott is that the White House (more specifically, Karl Rove) wanted Lott deposed so as to get someone more pliable in as Senate Majority Leader...

Palancik: interesting point. Santorum (in my communications with him through his staffers, anyway) has pretty much proven to be a party-line man. There is no need to replace him with Bill Frist because he basically is Bill Frist. Where it gets interesting, though, is if Bush's people realize that, while gay-bashing plays better among Bush's target demographic than outside of it, terrorism fear plays much better with everyone (or at least gets everyone to shut up, which is good enough for this President), and that focusing on the fact that the Republicans are basically the party of lights-off twice-monthly missionary sex with your spouse of the opposite sex and identical "race" (as opposed to the visionaries who liberated Iraq and are the only force standing between America and the Sharia) could prove to be a liability.
posted by Vetinari at 11:15 AM on April 23, 2003


It simultaneously became 1954 and 1984 in November, 2000.

ha! wait...(*shiver*)...so, so true. :-P

my favorite tidbit of this story so far is Senator Dingus' truly lame "apology" in the press release..."misconstrue" his comments as having to do with "individual lifestyles"? naaaah, who could ever do that? Trent Lott spoke his damning comments at a private event, not necessarily expecting to be quoted...this guy spoke directly into a reporter's tape recorder, and now expects to not be taken at his word? unfortunately, i foresee a lackluster response because of the aforementioned hierarchy of prejudice: racism = really bad, sexism = sometimes bad, homophobia = grudgingly acknowledged. grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
posted by serafinapekkala at 11:28 AM on April 23, 2003


Hmmmm... makes one wonder when the inevitable uncovering of a homosexual terrorist cabal will by administrative factotums will occur.

It's two...two....two threats in one!
posted by umberto at 11:37 AM on April 23, 2003


At least one democrat is willing to call Santorum on this BS.
posted by soyjoy at 11:49 AM on April 23, 2003


Vetinari: Santorum is here, rambling on for minutes, essentually repeating the (generally discredited) evangelical party line that homosexuality is a curable (or at least repressible) disease

Actually, Santorum is not a Protestant evangelical, but an extremely traditionalist Catholic (which suggests that he actually is quite serious about bringing back anticontraception laws). As this article shows, Santorum is an open admirer of Opus Dei who attended the 100th anniversary celebration of the founder's birth. Here's a very interesting selection from that article:

In contemporary Western debates, this idea of unity between faith and political allegiance often puts Opus Dei-inspired politicians on the right.

Santorum was a forceful champion of this view. He told NCR that a distinction between private religious conviction and public responsibility, enshrined in John Kennedy’s famous speech in 1960 saying he would not take orders from the Catholic church if elected president, has caused “much harm in America.”

“All of us have heard people say, ‘I privately am against abortion, homosexual marriage, stem cell research, cloning. But who am I to decide that it’s not right for somebody else?’ It sounds good,” Santourm said. “But it is the corruption of freedom of conscience.”

Santorum told NCR that he regards George W. Bush as “the first Catholic president of the United States.”

“From economic issues focusing on the poor and social justice, to issues of human life, George Bush is there,” he said. “He has every right to say, ‘I’m where you are if you’re a believing Catholic.’ ”


In another article written by Santorum himself, he praises "ecclesial lay movements such as Opus Dei, the Neocatechumenate, Focolare, Regnum Christi, Communion and Liberation." Santorum is also a member of an ultratraditionalist Catholic church that follows the pre-Vatican II practice of conducting the Mass only in Latin and which once included the spy and Opus Dei member Robert Hanssen as a member.

In 1997, Santorum also received the Catholic American of the Year award from the Catholic Campaign for America, which was originally conceived as a Catholic companion to the Christian Coalition. During his acceptance speech, Santorum sharply criticized Catholic Charities for not being Catholic enough, because they gave out too much charity without taking the opportunity to proselytize the Catholic faith. Santorum's stance on this may reflect Opus Dei's policy of not giving alms to the poor. According to an article with interviews from former Opus Dei members, Opus Dei has "a ''strange apostolate of not giving.'' It does not believe in giving alms to the poor and its members are not permitted to give presents to anyone."

I was raised Catholic, but Santorum is no garden variety Catholic. He represents a very narrow ultratraditionalist spectrum of Catholicism that cannot abide the concept of a separation between church and state. The fact that one of the articles on Catholic Charities above puts him to the right of the late John Cardinal O'Connor is enough to give me pause.
posted by jonp72 at 11:54 AM on April 23, 2003


I love how the word family is such a blatant code-word for "us white Christians."

> I have no problem with homosexuality. I have a problem with homosexual acts.

"I have no problem with families. I have a problem when people start families!"
posted by skallas at 11:56 AM on April 23, 2003


"To suggest that my comments, which are the law of the land and were the reason the Supreme Court decided the case in 1986, are somehow intolerant, I would just argue that it is not," Santorum said.

Funny the way the law of the land is never, ever, 'intolerant.' That whole "segregated water fountains" period comes to mind...
posted by kaibutsu at 11:58 AM on April 23, 2003


" I belive Sigur Ros would tell us this is good weather for airstrikes."
posted by WolfDaddy at 12:28 PM CST on April 23

muh?
posted by notsnot at 12:06 PM on April 23, 2003


notsnot,
See this thread, or better yet, find the video and spambomb Santorum with it.
posted by WolfDaddy at 12:27 PM on April 23, 2003


Looks like it's time to take out my Queer Nation t-shirt, round up some ass-kicking queers, and show the senator what this country was REALLY like back in the glorious days of the revolution that started it all.

Of course, he would have been a Loyalist.
posted by divrsional at 12:29 PM on April 23, 2003


jonp72: quite enlightening. so Santorum is explicitly theocratic. I wasn't aware that such fundamentalist fervor existed among North Atlantic Catholics post-Vatican II - the Catholic church itself seems to have become more comfortable with the separation of church and state than, say, the Southern Baptists. What I meant by labeling the "curable homosexuality" idea as "evangelical" is that I've most often seen the deprogramming of homosexuals most vocally endorsed by born-again American protestants with such a narrow worldview that they think Catholicism is a Mary-worshipping cult.
posted by Vetinari at 12:35 PM on April 23, 2003


Senator (Senator? Aren't they supposed to be the smart ones?) Dantorum's remarks about restricting sexual acts just makes me want to go find his wife and give her the rollicking fuck she probably desparately needs.

I mean, seriously, who's the real victim here?

(there goes my political career...)
posted by mkultra at 12:37 PM on April 23, 2003


This will be what, my fourth invocation of "The Handmaid's Tale" around here?

This country's getting creepy, yo.
posted by padraigin at 12:41 PM on April 23, 2003


If Rick was so concerned about the break up of the American family he might get his head on straight and realize the enormous size of the federal government which causes many families to have both parents working to pay our high taxes.
posted by ZupanGOD at 12:45 PM on April 23, 2003


Since when is gay sex synonymous with incest, or with polygamy? Because they're both sex acts that Santorum doesn't practice? There's no logical requirement that one must be in favor of incest if one is in favor of gay sex.

What I want to know is why this guy isn't going after all the divorced people. I mean, Jesus clearly states in the New Testament that divorce is wrong and contrary to the wishes of God. He never said anything at all about homosexuality. I'll believe the bullshit rhetoric when they start referring to divorced people as sinners and make laws keeping divorced people from adopting children.
posted by vraxoin at 1:10 PM on April 23, 2003


Catholicism is a Mary-worshipping cult

No pun intended, I am sure. Santorum aint worshipping the same Marys that I do.
posted by archimago at 1:28 PM on April 23, 2003


Best. Comment. Ever. And I'm not just asskissing.

I always took it that the church's belief against homosexuality is (or, at least, began as) a mechanism to propogate the religion. Two gay men couldn't make little Catholic babies, but M-F couples could! Similar logic applies to "no birth control" and "no abortion." coughmanipulationcough

And on another slightly related note, did anyone else read the NYTimes Magazine article about Mel Gibson and his father, and their super-Catholicism? (They're part of the same pre-Vatican II all-Latin church that Santorum is part of.) What a bunch of wackos.

I'm so glad I left Pennsylvania. And became an atheist. Phew.
posted by The Michael The at 1:43 PM on April 23, 2003


Andrew Sulliven mentioned in his column and somebody repeated here something about making adultery illegal. It actually already is illegal in most states, just rarely enforced. One could even argue that the laws should be enforced more, since marraige is a voluntary commitment, and adultery results in a clear victim (the spouse). They certainly make more sense than sodomy laws (which, btw, are pretty much never enforced either).

As for Santorum's ghastly comments, I thought the NYT's editorial about them today was excellent.
posted by boltman at 2:09 PM on April 23, 2003


Wait, TheMichaelThe, Opus Dei (Santorum) and the Tridentine Catholics (Gibson's parents) are actually two completely different flavors of crazy fringe Catholics.

And there are plenty of *heterosexual* Catholic priest scandals going on right now here in the greater Boston area.

Oral-genital contact between married heterosexual couples is illegal in several states as well. Santorum better get right on that one, too!
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:01 PM on April 23, 2003


The MeFi cabal really seems to have turned up trumps on this issue. I mean where are the _homophobic_ conservatives hanging out these days, eh?
posted by dash_slot- at 4:23 PM on April 23, 2003


Wait, TheMichaelThe, Opus Dei (Santorum) and the Tridentine Catholics (Gibson's parents) are actually two completely different flavors of crazy fringe Catholics.

---seperate post---
In another article written by Santorum himself, he praises "ecclesial lay movements such as Opus Dei, the Neocatechumenate, Focolare, Regnum Christi, Communion and Liberation." Santorum is also a member of an ultratraditionalist Catholic church that follows the pre-Vatican II practice of conducting the Mass only in Latin and which once included the spy and Opus Dei member Robert Hanssen as a member.


I never meant to imply that they're the same, Sidhedevil. I took the above paragraph to mean that Santorum is a Tridentine (an actual Catholic sect, as opposed to Opus Dei which is a Brotherhood of sorts; are there other crazed all-latin Catholic fringe groups aside from the Tridentines?) and an admirer of Opus Dei (though not an Opus Dei member).

Whatever, they're all nuts.
posted by The Michael The at 5:01 PM on April 23, 2003


are there other crazed all-latin Catholic fringe groups aside from the Tridentines?

I think "crazed" is a little over-the-top, but there are many traditionalist groups that do not recognize the validity of the post-Vatican II vernacular mass, most notably the Society of Pope Pius X. If you want a good overview of traditionalist Catholic groups in the United States, you should check out Michael Cuneo's The Smoke of Satan: Conservative and Traditionalist Dissent in Contemporary American Catholicism.
posted by jonp72 at 5:19 PM on April 23, 2003


I did some digging around and I found some interesting material both here and here about Letters to Gabriel: The True Story of Gabriel Michael Santorum, a series of letters that Rick Santorum's wife Karen wrote to an unborn son who later died after a premature delivery. I feel sympathy for anybody who has experienced a tragedy like that and I also think that Mrs. Santorum's decision to have intrauterine surgery to save the pregnancy was very brave. What I find distressing about it is that the tragedy was exploited after the fact to make a point about partial-birth abortion laws. If you are brave enough to risk your life or health to save your pregnancy, you should have every right to do so. But when you want to force that bravery on somebody else, then that is where I have a problem.
posted by jonp72 at 6:07 PM on April 23, 2003


My girlfriend was flipping channels and came across Fox News, which we decided to gawk at in disbelief for a while, when suddenly the present story comes on. Guess how the news anchor introduced it?

Up next, a witch hunt against a Pennsylvania Senator!

Or something along those lines; "witch hunt" was the key phrase. If anyone has the anchor's exact quote I'd appreciate knowing what his exact words were.

I don't mean to be Captain Obvious here, pointing out that the Fair and Balanced stuff is so much Orwellian nonsense, because a fifth grader can see that, but this was really over the top. People get their news from that channel?
posted by boredomjockey at 7:05 PM on April 23, 2003


Very interesting Santorum post-election analysis here

it's also interesting to note that Santorum got elected during the 1994 Gingrich anti-Clinton, anti-health care, ContractWithAmerica revolution and kicked Harris Wofford's Kennedy-loving, compassionate ass
posted by matteo at 7:09 PM on April 23, 2003


To me, what he said makes perfect sense. If the state is going to decide that standard homosexual union is not of an elevated status, then there is really no good reason for limiting homosexuality, adultury, incest, or polygamy. As long as they are all among consenting adults.

Santorum is wrong to say that the elevated status of heterosexual intercourse has to be maintained. But the gay lobbies are just as wrong in saying "let us up on the pedestal" rather than "tear down the pedestal.

Sex is sex. As long as those involved are adults and freely consent I don't care in what combinations they do it.
posted by obfusciatrist at 7:23 PM on April 23, 2003


But, but, it's the bum!

At least, I think that's his point.
posted by jragon at 9:42 PM on April 23, 2003


You guys act like this is the first time in history a politician has said something retarded! Unclench, people. It's not 1984, Orwell is not grinning in his grave, it's just one dumbass cutting loose with his idiot ideas out of range of his handlers. He's not a king, you know, he's just one of 535 temps talking shit in DC. If the people in his district disagree with him, next term he'll be back at home living the life of the most unpopular poli-sci instructor at Numblefuck Community College. If his constituency agrees with his moronic remarks, he'll stay and give them the politics they deserve. Either way, it is highly unlikely that this mouthbreather's brownshirts are going to be kicking in your door while you're enjoying a little consensual buttsex, so lighten already.
posted by UncleFes at 10:43 PM on April 23, 2003


UncleFes: I take your point - he isn't exactly the most intelligent, enlightened, powerful rightwinger in the Western hemisphere. That post is taken.

But even though you are clearly noy anti-gay, I feel that you are missing something here: empathy for the victim.

I don't know you from adam, but lets assume (don't bother with the unpicking of 'assume', peeps, we've been there) that you have an inbuilt quality, one you grew up with, that you practice privately, harms no-one and actually couldn't dispose of anyway if you were pressured to, hassled about, discriminated for and pitied on - I dunno, like your love of kittens.

How'd you feel if your love of kittens was compared to incest, child abuse and other criminal/anti-social activities? I'm guessing you'd not lighten up. You'd protest, attack the illogicalities of the statements, talk about the slippery slope & the thin end of the wedge. You'd possibly want to seek allies, demand an apology and 'come out' from beneath the role of victim - cos that is no honourable place to be.

Also, if my understanding of US legal terms is correct, in some states 'sodomy' = 'oral sex'. (In the UK, it is simpler: 'sodomy' = 'anal sex'). As I recall, a blowjob is not a solely gay activity: this guy wants to enforce a religious morality and limit your freedoms and privacy, with criminal penalties for transgressors (tho' partial enforcement prolly means white, married, hetero folks won't have to worry about things just yet).

We don't lighten up in front of egregious attacks on other marginalised groups, why should we allow this one to stand?

Pastor Neimoller's poem refers.
posted by dash_slot- at 4:03 AM on April 24, 2003


I dont know if anyone caught it, but the daily show last night had a hysterical piece on this, explaining that Santorum was actually calling for more non-traditional sex everywhere at all times, and that the Republican's "Big Tent" strategy was now expanded to an area just behind it, where all Republicans could have sex with all the farm animals they wanted....it shd be repeating sometime today on comedy central

I'm expecting nothing to happen to him as a result of this, as most of his colleagues on his side of the table share his views, and see any attempt to stop discrimination (and this is a discriminatory law) as part of a conspiracy to destroy or undermine american "families"
posted by amberglow at 5:17 AM on April 24, 2003


oops, make that sexuality-related discrimination...
posted by amberglow at 5:24 AM on April 24, 2003


I'm with Stupid

(in context)

posted by soyjoy at 7:25 AM on April 24, 2003


I feel that you are missing something here: empathy for the victim.

Well, as far as that goes, point taken. I'm not gay, so Santorum's remarks have nothing to do with me personally. I'm a white male heterosexual American, which makes me the latest in a very long line of evil oppressors and privileged assholes. And were I a Christian, I'd be Santorum's target constituency.

At the same time, being a white male heterosexual American is an inbuilt quality as well, and my peer group is not without its detractors. They usually aren't as pointedly derogatory as Santorum, but they are there nonetheless.

In any event, this thread in particular seemed to be latest in a long line of threads where someone in office says something idiotic and the rest of us line up to officially declare outrage/slam government in general/give each other high-5's. Which is swell for building a sense of community, but I think we're beyond that point here. My personal opinion is that this is part of the continually increasing egregiousness of religiosity in general in the face of increasing irrelevance. Santorum's ideas and beliefs are, like most of his cronies across the religious spectrum, becoming increasingly antiquated and irrelevant in the face of reality, so he yells louder. It's a familiar story, and by lining up to yell back, we only validate his points for him. In my opinion, the best response to outmoded provocatory speech is an indulgent smile, a bit of pity for those people so trapped in ideology that they feel compelled to shout their ignorance from the rooftops, and then... nothing. Ultimately, Santorum is powerless to stop the larger trend towards tolerance and acceptance of homosexuality, he senses his own irrelevance and powerlessness on the subject, and that prompts his ire.

He deserves our pity. But nothing more, I think.
posted by UncleFes at 8:00 AM on April 24, 2003


Obfusciatrist, I'm going to reprint a comment I wrote in Matthew Yglesias' blog to address what you said:

Here's the thing. I have no beef with the incest people. In fact, the polygamy thing? OK with me too. Sex between consenting adults? Perfectly fine in my book. But I do not want to see this tied to the issue of homosexual intercourse.

Gay sex is its own issue. If you can come up with a distinct, demonstrable social harm that arises as a direct consequence of me giving my boyfriend a blow job, please, sally forth. If your idea of a "distinct, demonstrable social harm" is that allowing gay sex will leave the door wide open for incest, polygamy, pedophilia, and infant cannibalism, I have nothing to say to you. Go talk to those with proclivities towards said acts. And if your only arguments against incest, polygamy, and pedophilia are predicated on the fact that gay sex is illegal, may I suggest you brainstorm some new arguments. But leave my sexual orientation out of it.

Gays and gay-friendly folk have spent too long trying to end state-sanctioned discrimination against us for too long for us to have to bear the onus of acclimating this puritanical society to the idea of complete acceptance of sexual behaviors. Much of the feeble progress towards acceptance of gays in America has been made because people have begun to realize that, whether environmental or genetic factors were behind it, we did not choose our orientation. Realistically, if a gay group stood up tomorrow and said, "Actually, we're not just fighting for our right to follow the dictates of our hormones. We're also fighting for this guy's right to bonk his mother and his sister at the same time," any movement towards lessening the legislative bias against homosexuals would be pretty much shut down right then and there. The Supreme Court could comfortably uphold Bowers v. Hardwick warmed by the knowledge that 98% of America agrees with their decision to dam the threatened tide of ménage à trois inbreeding, and we'd all go home, heteros to a night of actual sex in their marriage beds, and me to a rollicking evening of mutual masturbation with Mr. Right.

Again, in summary, gay sex and incest are not the same thing. Our success in attaining the across-the-board legalization of gay sex may eventually turn the tide in favor of the legalization of all sex between consenting adults, and if so, yay, but if not, too bad. We're fighting for what we can get right now.

And UncleFes, while I appreciate your sweet concern about the stress levels of myself and others on this issue, are you queer? Because if not, I would urge you not to tell me what I should and should not take lightly. I am still embroiled, with millions of other non-heterosexual people across this country, in a long, painful struggle to gain ground wherever possible in the battle towards acceptance of our sexuality. It's arduous, and it's constant, and it sucks. I feel the sting of the word "faggot" every single day, when I talk to my parents, when I talk to my conservative friends, when I meet someone new, when I hear it invoked in jest between men trying to mutually confirm their straightness, long, long after "nigger" has lost any power it had over me. Expressing my anger on this forum isn't symptomatic of my failing to pick my battles, it's a catharsis, it's a warm-up for the day-to-day task of dealing with the bigotry spewed out by people like Senator Santorum. I refrain from calling the man an idiot, because I can find the exact same bigotry in the mouths and minds of people I love dearly, people I call Mom and Dad.

It may not affect you, UncleFes, when a senator of the United States helps to legitimize the marginalization of queers from the rest of society. That's fine. You being a white, heterosexual male has nothing to do with anything, and I'd encourage you not to be so preemptively defensive on that point, considering I've missed any anti-straight-white-male sentiment being flung about in this thread. I, however, hold court daily with a number of people quite open in their belief that Senator Santorum's statements were brave and true, whose prejudices have been nicely resettled due to the emergence of this new, comparatively powerful ally, in whose minds homosexuality is now more snugly nestled next to the taboos of incest, pedophilia and polygamy. You "smile and pity," I have to deal with this shit.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 8:16 AM on April 24, 2003


UncleFes: "it is highly unlikely that this mouthbreather's brownshirts are going to be kicking in your door..."

To the contrary, that is exactly what happened in the Texas case before the Supreme Court that Santorum endorses in his interview.

... so lighten already

This is exactly the wrong approach to take when confronted with public displays of racism and bigotry. To be silent is to implicitly condone such behavior and emboldens others to behave likewise. It is important to instantly and loudly denounce bigotry. To do otherwise simply perpetuates a good-old-boy get-along atmosphere.
posted by JackFlash at 8:29 AM on April 24, 2003


And UncleFes, while I appreciate your sweet concern about the stress levels of myself and others on this issue, are you queer? Because if not, I would urge you not to tell me what I should and should not take lightly.

So I am precluded from commenting - even in support? - by vice of not being in the affronted group?

You being a white, heterosexual male has nothing to do with anything

Ah. I'll consider myself dismissed, then.
posted by UncleFes at 8:33 AM on April 24, 2003


You're not in any way precluded from commenting, UF, and I never said that. But I do not think it's particularly constructive or relevant for you to tell me what I should or should not feel/write.

Similarly, you may "consider yourself dismissed," but don't imagine that I'm doing the dismissing. Your whiteness, heterosexuality, masculinity and Americanness are completely irrelevant to me.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 8:44 AM on April 24, 2003


then there is really no good reason for limiting homosexuality, adultury, incest, or polygamy. As long as they are all among consenting adults.

adultery can't really be among consenting adults, by definition, because one of the adults agreed by contract never to consent to such an act. That person is bound by law to the original promise, so in a sense cannot give his or her consent until that contract is void (death or divorce). People should feel free to agree to open marriages, though.

If everyone's happy, I don't see a problem with polygamy either. Incest seems an unfortunate taboo to break, since it guarantees at least one area where men and women can have non-sexual close relationships but I don't really have a strong rational argument for keeping it illegal. Still, no one claims to be naturally oriented toward being incestuous - without the possibility, you still have plenty of fish... On the other hand, you could use the same argument to tell bisexuals to stick to the hetero side of their options, so on pure logic that's not much of an argument.

the senator's comments are sickening but unfortunately not that surprising to me.
posted by mdn at 8:50 AM on April 24, 2003


But I do not think it's particularly constructive or relevant for you to tell me what I should or should not feel/write.

What I wrote: "In my opinion, the best response to outmoded provocatory speech is..."

I don't even know you, dude. Why would I tell you personally how to deal with your parents?

Your whiteness, heterosexuality, masculinity and Americanness are completely irrelevant to me.

But not so to everyone, which is all I was pointing out. But whatever. My point there was that criticism for in-built factors is not limited to homosexuals.

Similarly, you may "consider yourself dismissed," but don't imagine that I'm doing the dismissing.

Of course not. My dismissals are invariably self-directed. To which, I shall now return.
posted by UncleFes at 8:59 AM on April 24, 2003


To beat the proverbial dead horse, since you seem to be a reasonable person, in an effort to make you understand how telling people not to rant about the public expression of bigotry can be perceived as unhelpful ...

What you wrote: "it is highly unlikely that this mouthbreather's brownshirts are going to be kicking in your door while you're enjoying a little consensual buttsex, so lighten already."

I was actually responding to this comment of yours when I wrote my second one in this thread; I just happened to see your second comment on preview, and revised accordingly. I'm trying to get you to understand that brownshits kicking in the door (that's a felicitous typo, I think I'll leave it) is the least of what's on my mind when I express my anger at this type of stuff. You call it "outmoded provocatory speech," I call it speech that still has overwhelming support in much of America, and speech that I, and I imagine many other queer folk, have to deal with painfully every single day.

As for your pointing out that your inborn traits are not irrelevant to everyone, I was pointing out in turn that I don't think anyone in this thread was deriding anyone for being white, straight, male or American, thus your complaint struck me as irrelevant. We were deriding a person (who happens to be all of the above, and whether that chafes you is your own private issue) for being a bigot. In context, your comment suggested that everyone speaking out against Santorum's words were engaging in yet another pile-on of straight white men, a sentiment that I would describe as disingenuous.

Look, UF, you strike me as a good fellow. I'm just attempting to show you that while you may think this problem is almost over, or that these statements are not actually that harmful, or that it's part-and-parcel of the package of intolerance that every person has to face in his or her daily life, I don't believe any of those things is true. Yesterday, I was watching the NBA playoffs with a conservative Christian man who I'd consider a good friend, who said, in paraphrase, "Did you hear about the way the Democrats are attacking Rick Santorum for speaking out against homosexuality?" I then engaged my friend in a painful, drawn-out discussion of how Santorum's statements defended legislation that was constitutionally unsound, attempting at the same time to convince him that gay sex and incest/pedophilia are not actually the same thing, in practice or in the realm of law, all while trying not to draw him into a condonement of homosexuality, a line which his faith does not allow him to breach, and which if approached would invalidate all of my other efforts. It was an exhausting and bitter discussion, but less painful than it would have been to go on silent in the knowledge that my friend had his prejudices confirmed again by me. Forty years ago, if we would have spoken in this manner at all (he's white; I'm not), we would likely have been discussing race instead of sexuality.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 9:34 AM on April 24, 2003


If your idea of a "distinct, demonstrable social harm" is that allowing gay sex will leave the door wide open for incest, polygamy, pedophilia, and infant cannibalism, I have nothing to say to you. Go talk to those with proclivities towards said acts. And if your only arguments against incest, polygamy, and pedophilia are predicated on the fact that gay sex is illegal, may I suggest you brainstorm some new arguments.

In case I wasn't clear, I'm all in favor of complete legalization of all forms of consensual sex among adults. Neither am I saying that the gay lobby has to bear the onus for the incest lobby or the polygamy lobby. But not bearing the burden and actively slapping them down are different things.

The HRC rep didn't say "Incest? That's not our fight." He said "ewwww, that's disgusting, and I'm insulted." If you're going to keep it that level, the heterosexual incest people could be just as upset that Santorum lumped them in with homosexuals ("we're normal, but gay people are gross!"). To me, it is the same as Martin Luther King saying "Blacks and hispanics need equality, but I'm only enough person to fight for my cause." -- This is understandable. Versus "

As for whether consensual adultery is possible, it is. I've participated in it with all parties fully aware and compliant. But regardless, the the physical act of adultery is (generally) between two people; that may create a civil issue between one of those people and the third. But that doesn't mean the act itself should be a criminal act. There have been times and places where adultery would have been a punishable act, even if there was no complainant.
posted by obfusciatrist at 11:11 AM on April 24, 2003


JackFlash: actually, if you look at the facts of the case before SCOTUS, it was almost certainly staged by people that were looking to challenge the law in court. If memory serves, the police were summoned to the apartment by a false report of a burglar, found the door to the apartment open and the defendants inside in the middle of the illegal act.

I still think that the case is worthwhile if only to clarify and strengthen the reach of the right to privacy in the constitution and to reverse Bowers, possibly the ugliest and most embarrassing decision the Court has issued in the last 20 years (okay, maybe second most embarrassing after Bush v. Gore). And it will certainly strike an important symbolic victory for gay rights. But to say that gay people actually have to worry about police knocking down their bedroom door and throwing them in jail is a stretch.

Finally, on the incest point, even among consenting adults, it differs from the "sodomy" issue because it's quite dangerous from a reproductive perspective. The governmental interest in not having inbred citizens, combined with the overwhelming moral consensus strikes me as a quite compelling reason to ban it and even punish it.
posted by boltman at 11:46 AM on April 24, 2003


Some will call this off-topic, but for me it illustrates why Santorum and his party's insistence on regulating other people's sex lives for "moral" reasons is so infuriating...

A prominent Republican fund-raiser who once said former President Bill Clinton was "a lawbreaker and a terrible example to our nation's young people" pleaded guilty yesterday in Baltimore Circuit Court to production of child pornography. "Production" meaning "filming himself having sex with underage girls."

And no, this is no isolated incident, even if it's more pointed than most. The GOP is and has long been the "do as I say, not as I do" party. Does anyone really believe it's only democrats who get blowjobs?
posted by soyjoy at 11:47 AM on April 24, 2003


matteo: it's also interesting to note that Santorum got elected during the 1994 Gingrich anti-Clinton, anti-health care, ContractWithAmerica revolution and kicked Harris Wofford's Kennedy-loving, compassionate ass.

In fact, that 1994 Senate race between Santorum and Wofford has eerie parallels with a 1992 film about a Pennsylvania Senate race. Guess who Santorum is?
posted by jonp72 at 11:51 AM on April 24, 2003


The last bit of my second paragraph above got lopped somehow. It should have read:

The HRC rep didn't say "Incest? That's not our fight." He said "ewwww, that's disgusting, and I'm insulted." If you're going to keep it that level, the heterosexual incest people could be just as upset that Santorum lumped them in with homosexuals ("we're normal, but gay people are gross!"). To me, it is the same as Martin Luther King saying "Blacks and hispanics need equality, but I'm only enough person to fight for my cause." -- This is understandable. Versus "This is about the black people. Leave the Mexicans in the strawberry fields, that's where they belong."



Finally, on the incest point, even among consenting adults, it differs from the "sodomy" issue because it's quite dangerous from a reproductive perspective. The governmental interest in not having inbred citizens, combined with the overwhelming moral consensus strikes me as a quite compelling reason to ban it and even punish it.

Then make it illegal for incestual couples to have children. But still, why should it be illegal for some to produce children when the likelihood is increased for deformity? Congenitally deaf people are allowed to procreate with each. Two people with Downs' Syndrome would be allowed to have children if they so wished. But as William Salaten pointed out at Slate today, several state already have laws that allow cousin-marriages if proof of infertility is provided or if the woman is beyond apparent ability to bear children.
posted by obfusciatrist at 12:03 PM on April 24, 2003


As for whether consensual adultery is possible, it is. I've participated in it with all parties fully aware and compliant.

I wouldn't call that adultery; as I said above, people should by all means have the option to agree to open marriages or at some point agree to open their marriage if they want. My point was regarding someone who is breaking a contract they made.

But regardless, the the physical act of adultery is (generally) between two people; that may create a civil issue between one of those people and the third. But that doesn't mean the act itself should be a criminal act.

Strange as it may seem, it is a legal contract between two people; as long as they choose to "make it official" they need to follow the official rules. If they don't want it to be a legal contract, they shouldn't marry - in that case their cheating on one another can't be considered a legal issue.

There have been times and places where adultery would have been a punishable act, even if there was no complainant.

It isn't just that the person is doing something the other person wouldn't want, but they're doing something they themselves stood up before witnesses and claimed not to want. It's as if their short-term self is betraying their long-term self. I'm not suggesting it should be punished if everyone's fine with it, but I don't see why someone would stand up and make statements to which they aren't concerned with staying true.

obfusciatrist got to the incest issue before me, so all I can say is, yup.

Like I said, I'd rather the incest taboo stay strong, but the reasons are all sort of vague - that people should have a safe home base and go out into the world to discover new things - that siblings or cousins are part of the home base, and lovers are part of your self-discovery and exploration and stuff. But obviously this is merely a personal perspective, not legal grounds for anything - and it's hard to say why similar arguments couldn't be used about being queer, so...
posted by mdn at 12:50 PM on April 24, 2003


Boltman: actually, if you look at the facts of the case before SCOTUS, it was almost certainly staged by people that were looking to challenge the law in court.

Sources?
posted by dash_slot- at 1:00 PM on April 24, 2003


Strange as it may seem, it is a legal contract between two people; as long as they choose to "make it official" they need to follow the official rules. If they don't want it to be a legal contract, they shouldn't marry - in that case their cheating on one another can't be considered a legal issue.

I agree, in relation to a marriage adultery is a legal matter. But is it a criminal matter or simply a civil one? Presumably Santorum was talking about adultery as a criminal matter as that was the context for all the other mentioned categories (as it is the context of the SC case).

For example, in Florida, if a man cheats on his wife and those were the agreed upon rules of their marriage, then it is a definite issue for a civil (divorce) court. But is it an issue for a criminal court? Technically, yes. Section 798.01 of the Florida Criminal Code:

"Whoever lives in an open state of adultery shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. Where either of the parties living in an open state of adultery is married, both parties so living shall be deemed to be guilty of the offense provided for in this section."

Of course, I doubt this is ever enforced. But then most sodomy laws are rarely enforced.
posted by obfusciatrist at 1:04 PM on April 24, 2003


Boltman: The call that led to the arrest of the two Houston gay men came from Roger David Nance. Harris County Sheriff's Department officers responded to his report of an armed man in an apartment complex, and he directed them to the apartment where Garner and Lawrence were found. Nance pleaded no contest and served 15 days in jail for filing a false police report. David Jones, an attorney for the two men, cited Nance's motive as a "personality conflict between the caller and the people in the apartment." [SOURCE]

So, not only did they not choose to be caught in flagrante, leading to fines, jail time and a lifetime sex offenders registration, but their homophobic (Ok, I'm guessing there...but it's an edumacated one) neighbour did jail time too.

What do you have?
posted by dash_slot- at 1:19 PM on April 24, 2003


dash slot -- I have nothing beyond your link, I just find the defendants' version of events to be implausible. The article itself notes that gay activists have been trying to get rid of this law for a long time but haven't been able to come up with a good test case. The DA admits that the only reason he is prosecuting is because he wants to see the law declared unconstitutional. The defendants themselves seem pretty enthusiastic about defending themselves in court--a huge cost in terms of time, if not money. And honestly, it's hard for me to believe that Nance was a homophobic neighbor. I mean, that's about the most bizzare (and idiotic) way to harrass your neighbor that I've ever heard of, and it makes no sense that he would choose to serve jail time just to spite his gay neighbors. On the other hand, if he were a co-conspiritor that really believed in the cause of getting the law overturned, 15 days in jail seems a small price to pay.

Obviously, they're going to deny that it was staged because it makes their case look much weaker. But it all just smells way too fishy to me. And if I'm right that the door to the apartment was open when the police showed up (I'm sure I read that somewhere but now can't find it), then I'd say that puts it beyond a reasonable doubt. But even if I'm wrong about the door, I still would bet money that it was staged in order to generate a good test case.

I still want them to win their case, of course, but that doesn't mean I have to accept their version of the facts uncritically.
posted by boltman at 2:40 PM on April 24, 2003


it makes no sense that he would choose to serve jail time just to spite his gay neighbors. On the other hand, if he were a co-conspiritor that really believed in the cause of getting the law overturned, 15 days in jail seems a small price to pay.

Wow. You must be out of breath after those leaps of logic, boltman. I'm breathless after just reading 'em.
posted by soyjoy at 2:47 PM on April 24, 2003


Principled people are usually willing to sacrifice for causes they believe in. Sometimes they even engage in civil disobedience and go to jail. People motivated by prejudice and contempt seldom are, because they're too busy looking out for number one. It's not really logic, just basic human nature.

Besides, there's (unfortunately) plenty of ways for homophobes to harrass gay people. Why choose a way that is almost certainly going to get you in trouble? On the other hand, if you're trying to manufacture some good facts for a test case, calling the police and telling them that someone's waiving a gun around in an apartment is about the only way your going to be able to do it.
posted by boltman at 3:16 PM on April 24, 2003




I'd also just point out that I don't think it matters at all, from a legal perspective, whether it was staged or not. My original point was simply that these laws are not enforced, so the arguments about whether to get rid of them should reflect that fact. (FWIW, I, personally, still think they should be struck down). Whether or not it was staged, the facts do suggest that these types of prosecutions are extremely rare, if they happen at all. Arguments about police breaking down the door, while rhetorically appealing, simply do not reflect what is really at stake in the debate and ultimately harm the credibility of those opposing the law.
posted by boltman at 4:27 PM on April 24, 2003


it's hard for me to believe that Nance was a homophobic neighbor. I mean, that's about the most bizzare (and idiotic) way to harrass your neighbor that I've ever heard of

Yes, and there are no bizarre idiots in Texas, or anywhere else. Especially those who have a psychologically disturbed obsession with harassing "different" people. *eyes*

Dantorum's remarks about restricting sexual acts just makes me want to go find his wife and give her the rollicking fuck she probably desparately needs.

Me too.
And I'm a woman.
posted by NorthernLite at 6:11 PM on April 24, 2003


today's nytimes editorial: Rally Round Intolerance
posted by amberglow at 9:21 AM on May 4, 2003


Good Lord. Not one hour ago, I was having a conversation with one of my best friends, a liberal Pakistani woman who's also one of the most intelligent people I've ever met, and a teacher at one of the most prestigious schools in the country. She was telling me how this man had come to speak at her school; she couldn't remember his name, just that he was a Republican, but his politics were so liberal that she couldn't understand why ... he detested W, was against the war, made fun of Trent Lott for half an hour, was all in favor of social services, &c (she said that one solitary stupid issue, possibly abortion, kept him in the party). On the whole, she was perfectly charmed by him, and didn't understand at first why I couldn't concede that although he may be a Republican, he's still a good guy to have in office.

This is why. I'm happy I get to say this in an old thread no one will read, because it sounds close-minded and simplistic, and gives too much credit to the Democrats, but it's 100% honest and the product of rational reflection. Anyone aligning himself with the Republican party is aligning himself with the intolerance to which you just linked, amberglow. Whatever little ideological scrap keeps him moored to that party, the fact remains that the Republicans officially endorse policies that are demonstrably and uniquely harmful to blacks, gays, and any number of other underrepresented demographics. Yeah, I know that Bill Clinton didn't end the War on Drugs, he signed the Defense of Marriage Act, so on and so forth. The Democrats' hands are not free of blood. But the Republicans bathe in it.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 10:00 PM on May 5, 2003


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