Rick Santorum and Gay Marriage

Rick Santorum, fresh off his impressive performance in Iowa (narrowly losing to front-runner Mitt Romney) is receiving some negative headlines for some remarks he made about same-sex marriage: “Rick Santorum jeered after comparing gay marriage to polygamy,” “Santorum is Booed by College Crowd for Opposing Gay Marriage,” “Santorum engages, enrages.”

I disagree with the beliefs that Mr. Santorum expressed, but I gained a lot of respect for him for engaging in the conversation. The full version of what he said can be found here.

I have far more respect for a person whose views I disagree with, if that person is willing to engage in open discussions about those views than I have for a person who holds the same views as I do, but refuses to genuinely discuss them with anyone who disagrees.

It would have been easy for Santorum to give a talking-points answer to the gay marriage question: “I am a man of God. I believe, as most Americans do, that the bible is true. Defining marriage as between one man and one woman is consistent with the bible, and it is consistent with the traditions of this country. Next question.”

However, that is not what Santorum did. He genuinely attempted to engage a group of college students on the merits of his beliefs. Moreover, when pressed, he did not fall back on the “I’m right because God says so” defense. In my book, Santorum deserves a lot of credit for that.

There are a few aspects of what Santorum did that I would criticize; one of which is that he attributed the beliefs of one of the students to the entire room. However, he probably did that more to facilitate the discussion than for any other reason.

The bottom line, however, is that whether we like it or not, there are people in the world who disagree with us. That being said, we will never be able to make any progress as a society in terms of resolving controversial issues unless people are willing and able to engage in conversations about those topics with others with whom they disagree. In a rare example of a politician taking a risk, Santorum did that today. Even though I disagree with what he said, I like him more for saying it.

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One Response to Rick Santorum and Gay Marriage

  1. villagebear says:

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