Did Santorum Really Equate Homosexuality to Bestiality? Actually, NO.

Following Rick Santorum’s impressive Iowa showing, the heretofore largely ignored GOP candidate is now being heavily scrutinized. Fair enough.

The morning following the Iowa caucus, I awoke to an Internet ablaze about Santorum’s apparent characterization of male homosexual relations as “man on dog.” Ouch. I was, as are many on the Right, immediately offended that Santorum would use such a crude, offensive, unnecessary analogy, embarrassing not only himself but Republicans as a whole, and I immediately Tweeted about my disgust with Santorum’s remark.

Others were similarly critical: National Review Online’s Michael Tanner blasted Santorum (“In fact, with his comparison of gay sex to ‘man on dog’ relationships, Santorum seldom even makes a pretense of tolerance”), as did Fox News’ Shepard Smith that afternoon on his show, Studio B (“Rick Santorum is, among other things, a man who equated homosexual sex to bestiality”).

Within minutes of Studio B’s airing, Mediate gleefully reported on the controversy with the headline: “Shep Smith: How Will Equating ‘Homosexual Sex To Bestiality’ Affect Santorum’s Run?” This morning, the L.A. Times unsurprisingly ran with it, writing: “He [Santorum] said gay marriage could lead to bestiality.”

Then I remembered the Gipper: “Trust… but verify.” So I did a little quick digging and looked at the actual text from which the controversial quote originated--the transcript of the April 23, 2003 Associated Press interview with Santorum.

It is as follows:
Every society in the history of man has upheld the institution of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman. Why? Because society is based on one thing: that society is based on the future of the society. And that's what? Children. Monogamous relationships. 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. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality--

At that point, Santorum was interrupted by the interviewer who apparently joked that he/she was not expecting to hear a U.S. Senator use the term "man on dog."

Now, does it sound to YOU as though Santorum was categorizing homosexual-male-sex as "man on dog"? Negative. To anyone with basic reading comprehension skills, it is clear Santorum was actually cautioning that he is not equating gay marriage with other prohibited-marriage categories such as “man on child” (individuals marrying minors) and “man on dog” (individuals marrying animals). Regardless of one’s views on gay marriage, or Santorum’s own, he did not, in any way, slam male-on-male sex as "man on dog." It seems those who actively read that visual picture into Santorum’s comments need to get their heads out of the gutter and, ironically, stop revealing their own homophobia in even making the connection.

So, while there may be plenty of issues on which to criticize Santorum, this trumped-up "controversy" is not of them.

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