Rick Santorum on Sunday said gay rights are not the same as civil rights.

During an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Santorum told host Chris Wallace that sexual orientation is not an immutable characteristic like the color of a person's skin.

While discussing Santorum's opposition to allowing gay and bisexual troops to serve openly, Wallace asked Santorum if he agreed with the tenets behind a quote from Colonel E.R. Householder. Santorum reluctantly agreed.

“The Army is not a sociological laboratory. Experimenting with Army policy, especially in a time of war, would pose a danger to efficiency, discipline and morale and would result in ultimate defeat,” Wallace read.

Wallace then told Santorum that Householder was arguing against the integration of the military in 1941.

“That's very, very different,” Santorum said. “We're talking about people who are different simply because of the color of their skin, not because of activities that would cause problems for people living in those close quarters.”

“I know the whole gay community is trying to make this the new civil rights act, it's not. It's not the same. You are black by the color of your skin. You are not homosexual … obviously by the color of your skin.”

“Being black and being gay is the same is simply not true. There are all sorts of studies out there that suggest just the contrary. And there are people who were gay and lived the gay lifestyle and aren't anymore. I don't think that's the case for anybody who is black,” Santorum added. (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page.)

(Related: Rick Santorum supports rights of gay Iranians.)