Appearing Wednesday on MSNBC's The
Rachel Maddow Show, Republican presidential candidate Rick
Santorum said that he regretted comparing gay marriage to “man on
In 2003, Santorum predicted that if the
high court struck down state laws criminalizing sodomy in Lawrence
v. Texas, then “you have the right to anything” including
pedophilia and “man on dog” relationships.
“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 ... [I]t 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 ... 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.”
Santorum called the remark “flippant”
“Why did you say the word 'dog'?”
“I wish I'd never said that. It was
a flippant comment made to a reporter who was not being particularly
professional,” Santorum said after explaining that he was quoting
the Supreme Court's decision in Bowers v. Hardwick (The
Advocate reported that this is not the case).
Santorum added that he stands by “the
substance” of what he said.
On the day that the Supreme Court
struck down gay marriage bans in all 50 states, Santorum said that
the ruling proved his “man on dog” warning to be correct.
(Related: Rick Santorum: Gay marriage
ruling vindicates “man on dog” warning.)
Maddow also asked the former senator
whether he believes being gay is a choice.
“I don't spend a lot of time thinking
about these things,” he answered.
Maddow countered by saying that
Santorum's positions on gay rights had propelled him into “a
nationally famous figure.”