Cut to the Chase


You could go on and on—and on—about Sen. Rick Santorum's comments on homosexuality. Or just fall back on the fact that he is a moron.

He's one of those pols—and they come in all flavors—who gets a look of stark terror on his face if his aides stray far from his side. His struggle to form a lucid thought under questioning isn't the mark of an evil man, just a dumb one. If we start purging all the dopes from positions of power soon there won't be anyone left.

Hey, um……..

NEXT: No War for Oil

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  1. Dude:

    I don’t think they REALLY want to kick down your door because you’re enjoying the company of someone they think you shouldn’t. I think they have some moral issues and lack the intelligence to state those issues in a non-threatening way. We all agree it’s wrong to steal and murder. Those things hurt people. We tend to disagree on those things we may think are icky, but don’t really hurt anyone. Then there’s the whole Biblical shall/shall not thing, but we won’t go there right now.

    And don’t think for a second that this is limited to Republicans. Dems want to control your life as well. It’s just for different things. whether or not you can own a gun, what you should be able to drive, where you should live, what you should eat…..

    Two sides of the same coin.

  2. Oddly enough, I recall Dan Savage (sex advice columnist – Savage Love; carried in a variety of cities’ free weekly papers) made this same comparison recently. He didn’t catch as much shit, although his comparison didn’t condemn either one. Then again he caught a lot more shit than Santorum for being for the war in Iraq.

  3. Santorum is dumb, but dumb is a tradition. What will cook Santorum’s goose is that he has been counterproductive.

    The Republicans do not gain many votes from bashing this or that disapproved-of thing, because the fringe voters who care are theirs anyway. Nor do they lose many votes, because few voters are quite that one-issue: economics, war, height, and hairstyle move far more votes than nookie. Where Santorum’s remarks really hurt, though, is that they provide a lever with which any other Republican can be made to look either nastily unprincipled (Bush’s non-repudiation repudiation) or just plain nasty (various other politicians’ standing up for or repudiating Santorum).

    The Democrats, we may be sure, are making the rounds and asking every Republican where they stand on this. Since no possible answer is a vote winner, it may well be that the only Republican who won’t suffer from being made to look like more of an idiot in the end is Santorum himself.

  4. In an odd way I think Santorum has a point, although it’s probably not really the one he intended to make. If you do have the right to perform homosexual acts, why don’t you have the right to incest or polygamy? As Judge Bork pointed out, societies proscribe acts because the acts are considered “wrong”, not necessarily because they violate a particular principle; if we consider ourselves men of principle and we believe that people should be free to perform homosexual acts, then we have to ask ourselves why not incest or polygamy or whatever?

    Santorum’s tactical mistake, of course, was to try and compare being gay (which is now perfectly acceptable in high culture) with things that are still not acceptable to even discuss anywhere – name a TV show that has an openly incestuous couple, or a polygamous one. So I agree with Santorum in one sense: if we can ban certain forms of consensual activity, we’re within our limits to ban others. Whether we should is where Santorum and I differ.

  5. This guy’s not really dumb, he’s just suffering from a problem a lot of people have – trying to find a logical basis for disapproving of behavior that they feel is wrong but can’t actually demonstrate using independent reason. Time was many centuries ago you could just site biblical text and say, ‘It’s wrong because God said so. End of story.’ Since the Enlightenment that standard isn’t particularly convincing, especially in the public sphere. Of course, it begs the question that if you can’t demonstrate that it is wrong (because it is hurting someone or at least the net benefit does not outway the costs), should you feel it is wrong?

    Just trying to follow the Senator’s logic, I would have to conclude that he thinks heterosexual sex should be outlawed. If priests, who are adult men, having sex with teenage boys is defined as equivalent with accepting homosexuality (because it is private and consentual), then it follows that if we accept any heterosexual sex that is private and consentual then we have to throw out satutory rape laws, since a 45 year old man having sex with a 15 year old girl is also private and consentual. If he thinks this is OK, fine. If not it should be banned to.

    I would have loved to hear him struggle through that briar patch of thorny reasoning.

  6. a question maybe someone can address:
    what will this mean for santorum’s future?
    i may not be particularly fond of santorum (this latest debacle provides further evidence of santorum combining the all-powerful-state of the democrats with the rule-by-religion of certain segments of the republicans) but he appeared to be a man on the fast track in the republican party. young, relatively popular, family man, clean-cut past. is he carving himself out a nice little niche here?
    i believe he’s actually stating what he truly thinks, freedoms and rights be damned. is this political suicide, though?

  7. Is incest actually illegal? I mean, once everyone is of age? Is it just father/daughter, mother/son, brother/sister?

    Moving on to the point, bigamy’s legal status (while undoubtably based on the same religious beliefs as sodomy laws) is at least defensible. After all, marriage is a contract of the “You may have only one such contract at any given time” type. A bigamist is married to two, seperate people, under two, seperate contracts. It’s like selling the same land to two different people.

    Polygamy also presents a problem, in that it’s a legal nightmare. Marriage, as far as the government should be concerned, is merely a contract between two people. Any two people of age and able to give consent should be able to sign, as the contract requires no modifications other than “Name A” and “Name B”.

    But polygamy? How do you handle custody? Power of attorney? Tax status?

    If you wanted to live polygamously, all you really need is a good attorney to draw up a rather complex contract. You couldn’t claim the tax breaks, and your income tax would be a tad complicated, but you’d get the rest…

  8. A ban on incest has deep biological roots, at the level of instinct: we know that high rates of birth defects are associated with incest, thus as a behavoir it is a loser in terms of fitness and survival. Unless you are Lot.

  9. I don’t think this will have huge effects on his political future. Comparing it with Lott, I don’t think it will be as big. Homosexualism just doesn’t fuel the public scandal fire like racism does. Many special interest groups that rallied against Lott will be a bit more squeamish about this one, especially those with religious affiliation. Furthermore, Lott’s previous statement had much to do with setting up a “pattern of behavior, ” that forced his fellow Republicans to criticize him. Bottom line, the Republican party is actively trying to court blacks as a voting block. The vast majority don’t give a shit about the homosexual voting block, as they know, outside of a few thousand in the Log Cabin, they aren’t anywhere close.

  10. Natz,

    The offspring angle may explain dislike for heterosexual incest (contraception being a relatively new thing, in evolutionary time), but what about homosexual incest?

    Should two adult sisters having sex be treated any differently then two adult unrelated women?

    Why do I have an NFL/beer song going through my head right now?

  11. I’m having trouble understanding the logic of this posting: You can get away with saying anything as long as you’re stupid? So we’re supposed to forgive Santorum for being bigoted because he’s an idiot? And we’re supposed to let him and dopes like him continue to run the country because, hey, they’re not evil, they just don’t know any better?

    Being a moron certainly explains why Santorum is bigoted. But it doesn’t excuse it.

  12. Those twins? Man that is a wierd commercial.

    Look, I don’t think biology offers a perfect explanation for every human behavior. Your correct, bro-bro or sis-sis sex doesn’t pose the same dilemma. However, if I accept that homosexuality is at least in-part a genetic trait, then I would want to know the probability of two females born in to the same family inheriting this trait. I don’t know how frequent families with multiple offspring produce multiple homosexual offspring, but it must be pretty low.

    Maybe I just convinced myself biology does explain human behavior.

  13. The difference between sodomy laws are recognizing bigamist relationships is simple; overturning sodomy laws requires the government to do nothing, recognize nothing, and approve of nothing. Just let people be, without comment.

    Recognizing bigamy, gay marriages, etc., is about the government doing something, giving its tacit approval. That’s a pretty big differenct, Rick.

  14. My hat’s off to the guy for actually saying he doesn’t believe in the right to privacy. Nobody else would dare say that, allthewhile doing what they can to undercut the principle. He may be dumb and he may be anti-freedom but at least he’s honest.

    Unless he’s not out of the closet yet, in which case I take it back.

  15. Santorum didn’t exactly set forth a clear argument, but some of the legal questions raised by Lawrence v. Texas are troublesome and Santorum isn’t completely wrong about the implications.

    The right to privacy with respect to sex is a fundamental constitutional right. (Sure, it was discovered walking around in the dim light of “emanations of penumbras of the Bill of Rights” in Griswold v. Connecticutt, but we like it, so it’s here to stay, even if it is a watery soup of a rationale).

    To abridge a fundamental right, the state must demonstrate a compelling interest in doing so.

    Now, either the state has a compelling interest in regulating private sexual behavior, or it does not.

    If the state does have such a compelling interest, then it can regulate homosexual acts, and really all sorts of sexual acts. It can legislate against fornication, adultery, incest, bigamy, and so forth.

    If the state does not have a compelling interest that would justify sticking its nose into the bedroom, then no sexual acts involving adults can be regulated.

    The privacy rights argument is one of three arguments raised by the gay rights advocates urging the repeal of the Texas anti-sodomy law. It isn’t a slippery slope, so much as a flood gate if the Court chooses to decide the case on this ground.

    If the Court rules on the broad grounds urged by the activists, then we get into Peter Singer territory. That may be okay with you, but I think I’ll paraphrase an old NOW bumper sticker here: “Keep your hands off my Shih-Tzu!”

  16. How does Santorum jive his biblical faith with his dislike for incest? After all, the children of Adam and Eve didn’t have a very big dating pool, no new kids were going to move into the neighborhood for them to play with. Also, Lot slept with BOTH of his daughters after the unfortunate salinization of his wife, and Peter later calls him a “just and virtuous” man(the reason he was spared in the first place). Yes, Lot was drunk when he impregnated(“went in unto”) them. But how drunk does one have to be to sleep with your daughters and still be considered just and virtuous by the Bible? And has every one else heard about the miscarried fetus show-and-tell Rick had with his children?

  17. Omnibus: You’re erecting a strawman. Specifically, you’re assuming bigamy, homsexuality, heterosexuality, fornication, adultery, polgamay, BDSM, sodomy, oral sex and any other sexual practices are all the same.

    The implication of your post is that if the state doesn’t have a compelling reason to legislate against homosexual sex, then it doesn’t have a compelling right to legislate incest, or bestiality, or whatnot.

    That’s ludicrous. You’re implying that all sexual acts are completely equal. Take homosexuality and homosexual pedophilia.

    I can’t think of a single reason the state has to legislate the former, but the underage (and thus unable to consent) status of the later does give the states ground.

    The strawman you erect is this phrase: “either the state has a compelling interest in regulating private sexual behavior, or it does not”. That’s BS black and white thinking.

    The correct question is: “Either the state has a compelling interest in regulating a SPECIFIC sexual behavior, or it does not”.

    Those flood gates don’t exist.

  18. Omnibus-

    “Amendment IX: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

    If we’re playing strict constitutional interpretation, the Right to Privacy wasn’t found
    in a Penumbra, it pre-dates the writing of the Constitution itself (what the Founding Fathers would call “God given”).

    We can get into a pissing match about the “Founding Fathers” intentions, but the fact remains- just because a right isn’t ennumerated in the Constitution doesn’t mean the Constitution doesn’t protect that right.

    PS: this person intends to retain his right to shag consenting adults in private- just TRY to deny or disparage me…

  19. I’m not sure of the legal status of incest. Anyone know the answer to that?

    Joe’s observation about the difference between sodomy bans and recognizing gay or polygamous marriages is accurate, but only to the extent that the state has created a monopoly condition on the nature of the marriage contract. All states have very specific laws on the books regarding ‘marriage’, what it means, how it happens and how it will end. This is probably due to the fact that the institution of conventional heterosexual marriage has been around so long that governments just legislated around it to codify some of what religions had done non-governmentally in the past. However there is no reason to think that it has to be this way.

    What about leaving the details of marriage to private individuals to settle on their own, with contracts that all parties find agreable? Then only the polygamists have to deal with the legal tangles of deciding who gets what if the relationship ends or changes. The argument raised that the contract is an exclusive relationship that cannot be repeated (like selling your house to two people at the same time) reflects the view of the monopoly-state definition. There is no reason to suppose one cannot write the contract to specify the possiblity of additional contractees. (I guess the equivalent real estate analogy would be the time-share condo. If you signed two contracts to sell the same house to two people, that would be fraud since each party believes the contract is exclusive. In the time share case you know explicitly from the contract that other people will be buying an ownership interest in the same thing.)

    What about folks who don’t bother with having a good contract drawn up – what do we do about their property and children when some of them split up? Providing a ‘default’ marriage law may make sense in this case, but it is still kind of irrelevant. People already end up in this situation by living together and not getting married. Many people own property together and even have children together without getting married.

    The courts are still stuck with the burden of having to sort this stuff out for the irresponsible among us. My suspicion is that the same people who eschew marriage would be the same people who eschew writing a private marriage contract so we’d see little difference in case load in the courts trying to settle custody/child support issues. If anything, requiring people to write their own contracts in order to have a marriage legally recognized may reduce the strain on the courts since it forces people to work out acceptable arrangements beforehand instead of waiting till they divorce (which no one ever thinks they will or why would they get married in the first place?).

  20. Just a note: Bigamy is being married to two people, without one (or both) of your spouses aware of the other. That’s akin to selling a house to two seperate people.

    If, however, you’re already married and want to extend the marriage to a third party, then that would be polygamy.

    Bigamy is illegal and should be. Polygamy is illegal and shouldn’t be, provided the parties involved are required to sort out some basic issues before marriage, to save the state (and the tax payers) the hassle latter on. Propery, custody, taxes, etc….

  21. Wow…you gotta love the way that Morat attacks Omnibus’ argument as a straw man by erecting his own straw man argument. Namely, Omnibus specifically discusses “sexual acts involving adults” and Morat responds with the example of homosexual pedophilia. If Morat can cite an example of a sexual act between consenting adults that he sees room for the government to prohibit, then let’s hear it and why it should be treated as a distinct case. Otherwise, Omnibus’ flood gates are definitely there.

  22. Actually, having two spouses, whether they are aware of the others existence or not, is both bigamy and polygamy. Bigamy means having two spouses (bi means two), polygamy means having more than one (poly means many). Take a third spouse, you are no longer a bigamist, but you still are a polygamist (and maybe a trigamist, but I don’t know if this is actually a word).

  23. I’m not sure how widspread local laws on it are, but here’s a general legal definition from

    Incest is unforced sexual intercourse between people who are not legally allowed to marry because of close family relationships. People who cannot marry because of their relation to one another include parents and children, brothers and sisters, and grandparents and grandchildren. In addition, aunts and nephews, uncles and nieces, and half brothers and half sisters are prohibited from sexual contact. An incest conviction can result in serious penalties, including several years in prison. However, incidences of incest are often not reported, so incest is probably more common than the amount of convictions would indicate.

  24. Thanks Sean. Just so you know the frequency of birth defects from “incest” goes down to near zero by the time you get to your cousin. Which is probably why it’s not illegal, and even somewhat approved of (kissin’ cuzins). And of course in tribal societies with arranged marriages like much of the Middle East the first preference in marriage is to a cousin. Keep it in the family.

  25. The state has no reason to interfere with the private acts of consenting adults.

    You don’t like homosexuals? prostitutes? polygamists? sadists? married heterosexuals with 1.3 kids getting busy with olive oil, whipped cream and a box of granola while watching the SPICE channel? That’s your problem. Join a church. Form a community with other like-minded Victorians. Hold a prayer vigil. Exercise your first amendment rights.


    If my sodomy rich lifestyle is as unhealthy as you claim, then it will soon be apparent to all how happy and contented you and your puritan friends are, and how miserable and empty me and the other bohemians are. What you’re really afraid of is that ours is the more fulfilling life and that you’re missing it.

  26. “sodomy-rich lifestyle” belongs on every t-shirt in america. amen.

  27. Is that opposed to the “Saddamy-rich lifestyle”?

  28. Here’s the thing about Constitutionalizing the right to privacy.

    Mr. Lawrence asks the federal courts to guarantee his right to privacy. If he is to have a right to this relief, the right must be cognizable as a federal question. In other words, it has to be the kind of right guaranteed by the Constitution – either a substantive right, or a state level / common law right, which can be enforced under the equal protection or due process clauses.

    The right to privacy itself must therefore either be an unenumerated right reserved to the states or the people respectively, or as a constitutional right with some basis in the text of the Constitution. My mocking reference to Griswold’s emanations of penumbras is only half phony; if there is a right to sexual privacy guaranteed by the substance of the Constitution, it’s roots are in the laughably arbitrary Griswold decision. This is one argument that Lawrence raises.

    The other argument is that Mr. Lawrence is being denied the equal protection or due process of law. Well, there has to be a substantive right denied here. If it ain’t the constitutional right, and if the state explicitly rules out any protection for acts of sodomy, then the right invoked here must be some common law right to privacy. Such unenumerated rights are generally understood in the context of common law, as it existed more or less at the time the Constitution was framed. Sure, you can account for the evolution of common law over time, perhaps looking at the law as of 1865 or so, when the 14th Amendment was enacted. But we are still talking about a right to privacy that does not encompass buggery.

    Do I think anti-sodomy laws are a bad idea? Well, I’m not sure. I tend to think so; I think what two consenting adults do in their bedroom ought to be up to them.

    The problem is constituional rights do not come in nice, little, delimited packets. A constitutional right to privacy in the bedroom, which would protect sodomy, covers a lot more things than just sodomy.

    You can argue that the court should issue a narrow ruling, so that the right to privacy doesn’t protect people who try to put Dr. Peter Singer’s theories into practice. That’s great – now you’ve created a constitutional right to buggery, and pretty soon inmates will be suing wardens to exercise their rights… oh, nevermind. But you see where it goes.

    Some things simply aren’t suitable questions for the federal courts to handle. By leaving this in state hands, you wind up with 36 states where buggery is fine and being homosexual is protected, and 14 where it is considered a mortal sin but generally ignored. Federalize it, and it is protected in all 50 states, and maybe a whole lot more acts (which more than 14 states consider odious) may well also gain protected status. Of course if the Court rules the other way, it may look like a sanction against homosexuals, and it may even look like gay bashing to some people.

    You can make most of these same jurisprudential arguments with respect to the right to die controversy, as well…

  29. Although the penchant for corporate welfare and authoritarianism is much more serious, this is the single most creepy thing about Republicans: do they really want the cops kicking down your door because you’re getting busy in a manner of which they do not approve?

    He does seem to be straining towards a room temperature IQ, at best. I’m fascinated by the process by which the slow-witted get powerful. I don’t quite understand how it works but it seems pretty common.

  30. There’s a real danger here.

    Institutionalize a right to privacy and some day a high official, even the President, may be able to lie while giving a deposition in a Federal case under oath and then escape the consequences because it’s just “all about sex.”

    Um… never mind.

  31. Well the IX Amendment speaks specifically to issues of natural law. If what natural law encompasses has expanded to protect homosexuals, I don’t see why the Court can’t simply rule that the IX Amendment protects the right of homosexuals to screw each other in private. 🙂

  32. Morat: No one here is arguing about whether pedophilia is going to be legalized. Omnibus certainly did not say that (again “sexual acts involving adults” – 6th paragraph of his first post) and from the quotes I’ve seen even Santorum isn’t arguing that. Your insistence that people are saying the slippery slope leads all the way to pedophilia is most assuredly YOUR straw man argument. Again I challenge you to name a behavior between consenting adults that you think the state has an interest in regulating. These are the “flood gates” which Omnibus referred to. One can argue that there is nothing wrong with opening those flood gates, but don’t argue that they don’t exist unless you can back it up with an example.

  33. OK, all you lawyers and “Constitutional scholars” — move over. This is for the common, run-of-the-mill, ordinary, average THINKER (and, hopefully, lover of liberty.)

    In YOUR mind, which of the following items on this list are SEXUALLY INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR, and why?

    (By the way, this last item, in caps, is what Santorum alluded to, but didn’t articulate.)

    Ready? Here goes:

    Group sex
    Mate swapping
    Oral sex

    “In YOUR mind” is emphasized, because the answers should come from what YOU think, not what others think.

    After you’ve, internally, found the answers, ask yourself . . . Which one of these should be INSTITUTIONALIZED (or not) and why or why not?

    Should any form of sexual behavior be institutionally sanctioned, condemned, formalized, or be given political status?

    Before I go, let me give voice to a personal bias: Incest with a minor is an act of violence. (minor = lack of judgement.)

    See you at the ballot box — armed with the answers.

  34. Why in private? Shouldn’t libertarians be demanding the right to public displays of affection? You’re supposedly “free” aren’t you?

  35. Tom: That’s not my strawman. That’s Santorum’s.

    Santorum feels, rather obviously, that if the right to privacy covers gay sex, it should cover bestiality, bigamy, incest, pedophilia…

    Omnibus, whether he buys that or not, fell into the same trap. Rights are not unviolate. Your right to privacy covers some actions, but in other actions the state might have a compelling interest.

    I pointed out one private sexual act where the state did have a compelling interest that trumped the right to privacy (namely pedophilia).

    There might be a slippery slope around here (although that argument is always a dangerous one), but pretending that removing unconstitutional bans to sodomy will somehow legalize pedophilia is ridiculous.

    For myself, I think the only interest the state has in sexual relationships is when they are nonconsenual. (Informed consent here, which means no kiddies!).

    When it comes to marriage, I can agree that the state has a legitimate reason to draw the line at “2 people” for what it’s willing to do the work for. However, that should be any two people who meet the qualifications (not married, of age, consenting) regardless of sex. Further, I think the state, if it’s going to regulate marriage, should leave the option open for polygamous marriages to anyone willing to do all the paperwork and tax work themselves.

  36. is sex between a 30 year old man an a 16 year old girl legal

  37. is sex between a 30 year old man an a 16 year old girl legal

  38. is sex between a 30 year old man an a 16 year old girl legal

  39. is sex between a 30 year old man an a 16 year old girl legal

  40. is sex between a 30 year old man an a 16 year old girl legal

  41. EMAIL:
    DATE: 01/26/2004 06:28:13
    Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it..

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