Before he ran for president, many people had only heard of Rick Santorum because of two things: his well-documented Google problem, and the incident that spawned it — a 2003 AP interview in which he warned that the Supreme Court granting the right to have gay sex in your home would essentially mean you also have the right to bigamy, polygamy, and incest. He also added, "In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing.”
Perhaps because they were so awful and embarrassing, the comments are still, ahem, dogging Santorum nearly nine years later. Last night on CNN, Santorum, the presidential race's latest and perhaps last not-Romney of the moment, was asked about them by John King:
He didn't connect homosexuality with man on child, man on dog? Here's the quote again:
"In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing.”
It's pretty clear what Santorum said: Marriage does not include homosexuality. It also does not include "man on child, man on dog." Because marriage is "one thing" — a heterosexual couple.
Santorum's revisionist interpretation — that he went out of his way to differentiate between homosexuality and pedophilia/bestiality — is absurd. He did the opposite. He had a basket labeled "ungodly things that can't count as marriage," and tossed in homosexuality, "man on child," and "man on dog."
Why the flimsy excuse? Why not just own it? Because since 2003, when Santorum made the comments, acceptance of gay rights and gay marriage has soared. Santorum hopes to become a viable, mainstream candidate, but his past remarks on homosexuality — not just opposition to gay marriage, but disparagement of gays in general — are no longer part of the mainstream. Best to just pretend they never happened.