October 7, 2011 | by Chris Johnson
Santorum denounces killing of gays in Iran

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum (Blade photo by Michael Key)

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Thursday pledged to speak out against the executions of gay people in Iran — calling it “a grave moral wrong” — and accused President Obama of not addressing the issue.

“I would talk about it,” Santorum said. “This president doesn’t talk about those things. He doesn’t talk about the torture, he doesn’t talk about the killing of women and gays and imprisonment. These are fundamental violations of human rights that I would speak about.”

Santorum made the remarks in a brief interview with the Washington Blade in D.C. at the 2011 Value Voters Summit, a convention for social conservatives hosted by the Family Research Council.

The GOP presidential hopeful spoke with the Blade after a giving a speech in which he criticized Obama for not defending the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act in court and for allowing military chaplains to officiate at same-sex weddings.

Santorum also pledged to fight marriage equality “in every state to make sure that marriage remains between one man and one woman.” He backs a U.S. constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage throughout the country.

Speaking with the Blade, the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania pledged to speak out against the killing of gays in Iran when asked to clarify remarks he gave in August during a presidential debate. At the time, Santorum called Iran a ’mullahcracy’ that “tramples the rights of women, tramples the rights of gays, tramples the rights of people all throughout their society.”

In Iran, sodomy is an offense subject to the death penalty. Just last month, Iran reportedly executed three people who were convicted of engaging in same-sex sexual relations.

Chris Barron, chair of GOProud, said Santorum is “absolutely right” about the violations of human rights against gays in Iran.

“We believe strongly that basic human rights should know no geographic boundary,” Barron said. “We thank Senator Santorum for having the courage to speak out with moral clarity on this issue.”

Barron commended Santorum while saying the Obama administration has failed to address the issue.

“While leaders like Israel’s Bibi Netanyahu have addressed the United Nations about the barbaric treatment of gay people in Iran, this administration has chosen to turn a blind eye,” Barron said.

Despite claims Obama hasn’t addressed the issue, the president has spoken up more generally in favor of LGBT rights during a speech last month before the United Nations General Assembly, making him the first sitting U.S. president to do so.

“No country should deny people their rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion, but also no country should deny people their rights because of who they love, which is why we must stand up for the rights of gays and lesbians everywhere,” Obama said.

Also during the interview with the Blade, Santorum wouldn’t venture to say whether he thinks being gay is a choice when asked if he shares the views of fellow GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, who earlier this week stated that view.

“I think there’s all sorts of studies that are contradicting on that subject,” Santorum said.

Major psychological institutions — including the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association — have stated that sexual orientation can’t be changed and that so-called reparative therapy practices are dangerous.

Santorum also addressed his previously stated pledge to reinstate “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” if elected president. He said he doesn’t know whether he would do so administratively or whether that would have to be achieved through legislation.

“I’d have to study the issue,” Santorum said. “I don’t know. At this point, I’d have to — I can’t say how, but I certainly would work toward that.”

A transcript of the exchange between the Blade and Santorum follows:

Washington Blade: Herman Cain said earlier this week that homosexuality is a choice. Is that a view you share?

Rick Santorum: Ah, well, I think there’s all sorts of studies that are contradicting on that subject.

Blade: You’ve said you’d reinstate “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” if elected president. Would you do that administratively, or would that have to be through legislative means?

Santorum: I’d have to study the issue. I don’t know. At this point, I’d have to — I can’t say how, but I certainly would work toward that.

Blade: One thing you said in August that really jumped out during the presidential debate was you criticized Iran for trampling the rights of women and gays. I’m just wondering what rights-trampling you’re objecting to.

Santorum: Ah, they’re killing them. They’re killing people because they’re gay, which is a grave moral wrong.

Blade: And how would you address that as president?

Santorum: I would talk about it. This president doesn’t talk about those things. He doesn’t talk about the torture, he doesn’t talk about the killing of women and gays and imprisonment. These are fundamental violations of human rights that I would speak about.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

7 Comments
  • So Mr. Santorium says it is wrong for gays to be killed in Iran, but yet here in the US, he tramples on gay rights and will not allow us to serve int eh US Military (AGAIN)

    Hey Rick, you can’t have it both ways you DICK….

  • Santorum does not want to KILL the Gays – Oh no! After all, they Pay TAXES for goodness sakes! Taxes which he and his Political Party, not to mention each and every Conservative Candidate, can then “redistrubute” (to use their terminology) to select groups of citizens that he DOES like.

    “Don’t KILL the slaves!… just make hay from their toilage!” says Santorum.

    Santorum is only in favor of opressing Gays to a certain “manageable” level. [HIS interpretation of] his Jesus tells him that this is okay. Mine doesn’t.

    Santorum believes that he must now feign morsels of support in order to boost himself politically. He will not legislate in our favor – ever,…nor will his colleagues.

  • Is he trying to look less anti gay? lol. The GOP is so funny. Us Australians look on and laugh at the way American politics work.

  • First he dreams about us, then he worries about us taking showers with them, now this… Please someone out this man.

    I mean really, whats with that persistent look on his face? Is someone knocking at the back door.

  • Why do you say he “accused” Obama of not denouncing the murders of gays in Iran (or Nigeria or…)? Is there any evidence Obama or Hillary etc have denounced it? Did they even denounce the Iranian regime’s shooting Neda? He is just reporting a fact.

    That said my two unrelated thoughts are 1) I hope Santorum doesn’t learn that the Iranian Islamofascists offer some gays a choice of gender reassignment surgery to make them “straight” and much more seriously 2) will some gays take the corresponding step of condemning or petitioning against the murder of Christian pastors in Iran?

  • I am still not sure why anyone cares what Santorum says. He is who he is and thankfully no longer a US Senator. He speaks to an audience who are homophobes and they are the only ones who really care what he says. It does say something about the Republican candidates for President that a has been like Santorum can still be in a debate.

  • Santorum doesn’t care about gays in Iran. He is just trying to play at being a “compassionate conservative” just that one time while the rest of the time he would have the USA reinstate Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, defend DOMA dogma (DOMA meaning Defense of Marriage Act, like it needs defending!) and other means of stopping gays from living a full and fulffilling life of marrying each other, etc while making sure that they must continue keep looking out for the least little thing that could end a long career of military service, and must keep (under a Santorum regime) loved ones out of sight and out of mind of all other military personel while they can blab on endlessly about their heterosexual loved ones and what they do on while off duty without fear of being canned, etc.

    I have heard Santorum speaking about gays and marriage very recently in a roomful of right-wing nuts that booed a gay male soldier serving in Iraq. And with his man on dog, man on child comment some years ago, I am not convinced that he has changed his status as bigot, not convinced that he has cleaned up his act and not convinced that he is ready for the US presidency.

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