Why is Santorum’s Homophobia So Very Successful?

Posted: March 21, 2012 in gay rights, human rights, politics, religion, Republican Party
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Hadley Freeman asks in the Guardian:

, U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania.

Which of the following homophobic actions and statements do you find more despicable and more deserving of the most severe punishment possible: an 18-year-old in his first term at university spying with a webcam on his gay roommate and sending out tweets such as: “I saw him making out with a dude. Yay.”

Or: a 53-year-old man on a high-profile political stage saying that gay marriage will cause America to “fail”; that homosexuals do not perform activities “that are healthy for society” and therefore do not deserve certain “rights” such as raising children; that gay “sexual activity” is not “equal” to heterosexual “activity”that repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is “playing social experimentation with our military … And that’s tragic”that gay marriage is analogous to polygamy and, most infamously, bestiality.

Both of these examples are utterly horrible and it is a decidedly depressing state of affairs that they happened at all. So to compare them is not to say that one is, relatively speaking, forgivable. Yet when one results in a now 20-year-old man facing up to 10 years’ imprisonment and possible deportation, and the other leads to this particular politician doing unexpectedly well in the Republican presidential primaries, one does have to question, shall we say, the consistency of national attitude, and what, really, is condemned and condoned.

Under any reasonable standard, the man is inciting homophobic hatred. Whilst it’s true, as she says, that he can’t be tied to any individual act of bullying or violence (at least right now), she’s right again to say that the tone he’s setting is abhorrent. A candidate for the US presidency is indulging in unashamed outright bigotry in order to fuel up the people he believes are his base – how is this not causing as massive social outcry as Dharun Ravi’s behaviour which led to Tyler Clementi’s suicide? I grant that these are nominally two different situations – one is a question of privacy, the other of the First Amendment, but it’s a complete mystery why Santorum’s inflammatory rhetoric isn’t continuously pummelled by the same sections of the media and civil society who are being so vocal about Ravi’s actions.

  1. Daz says:

    Another point. A twenty-year-old is barely an adult, and we’d expect him to do stupid things. Santorum, on the other hand, isn’t doing it ‘as a lark’, with little realisation of the consequences; he’s doing it in spite of the obvious consequences, merely for his own gain.

    The former can be at least partly excused as childishness. The latter is cold-blooded, self-interested and completely inexcusable.

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