Rick Santorum ‘will not stand’ for marriage equality ruling

WASHINGTON – Rick Santorum doesn’t just think that last week’s Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex nuptials will ruin the institution of marriage; he thinks it will ruin the very fabric of American society. And he’s vowing to keep that from happening.

Delivering the keynote address Thursday night at the second annual gala for the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) – a group with a primary goal of limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples — the former Pennsylvania senator and Republican presidential candidate criticized the nation’s highest court for “redefining what family is,” and warned the recent decision legalizing marriage equality nationwide would have dire consequences.

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“What the Supreme Court did last week was a loss,” Santorum said. “It’s a loss for America.”

As evidence, Santorum pointed to a rise in unmarried couples raising children together – a trend recently documented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, though not attributed to the growing number of states that allow gay and lesbian couples to wed.

“Co-habitating couples almost never get married,” Santorum said. “Why? Because marriage is not about children anymore. That’s a loss we have to work to try to remedy.”

Santorum also sounded the alarm on religious freedom, which he argued was under attack. Citing “religious freedom” folk heroes, Brandon Eich (the short-lived Mozilla CEO who stepped down amid criticism over his support of California’s former same-sex marriage ban) and Kelvin Cochran (an Atlanta fire chief who was fired after distributing a self-published book to work colleagues that included anti-gay views), Santorum warned “we have an intrusion on religious liberty in this debate.”

“In this decision, what we’re seeing is a court … basically saying to anyone who disagrees with it that you’re the equivalent of racists or bigots,” Santorum said. He also chastised his fellow White House hopefuls for standing idly by.

“If you believe this was tyrannical act of an oligarch judge or judiciary, an affront of fundamental freedom of conscience and you say it’s time to move on, why are you running for president?” Santorum said to big applause. “Not me. This will not stand.”

As president, Santorum said he would in his first 100 days sign into law the First Amendment Defense Act – one of five points laid out by NOM president Brian S. Brown to undermine the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in the gay marriage case, Obergefell v. Hodges. That law, as Brown envisions it, would “stop government discrimination against individuals, organizations and businesses that believe marriage is between a man and a woman.”

Santorum also said he would issue executive orders to make sure people were “given wide berth to practice their faith.”

“I will use the bully pulpit not to do what this president has done – to promote global climate change ideas or trans-fats or whatever else the science of the day is – but to rally the American people around this idea,” Santorum said of strengthening religious freedom and the nuclear family. “That is using power for good.”

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Santorum’s remarks, which will likely play well with the evangelical portion of the GOP, come as Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton courts LGBT voters. On Thursday, Clinton met donors in the gay-friendly resort town of Provincetown, Massachusetts, where she was introduced by a live performance of “Chelsea’s Mom” from the band Well Strung. She said on Twitter last week that she was “proud to celebrate a historic victory for marriage equality.”

Despite the persistent grumblings of marriage equality opponents, the number of counties not issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples has rapidly declined this week. As of Wednesday, a majority of clerks in Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas were issuing the licenses to gay and lesbian couples. And most clerks still not granting such licenses said it was because they were waiting on updated forms or word from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals — which ended up directing lower courts in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas on Wednesday night to issue final orders ending enforcement of those states’ same-sex marriage bans.

Fifty-seven percent of Americans said they wanted the high court to rule in favor of same-sex couples, according to a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

Rick Santorum and SCOTUS

Rick Santorum 'will not stand' for marriage equality ruling