The controversy surrounding Sen. Rick Santorum’s (R., Pa.) comments that compared homosexuality to bigamy, incest and adultery has died down, and it appears that Santorum’s position as the number three man in the Senate is secure.
The relative lack of outrage outside of the gay and lesbian community and left-leaning Americans shows the long way that our country’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) citizens have to go in the fight for equality.
At the beginning of this year, Sen. Trent Lott resigned his position as the majority leader of the Senate after he said that the country would have been better off had Strom Thurmond, a racist and supporter of segregation, had been elected president 50 years ago.
The comments sparked a furor across the nation, and Lott’s Republican colleagues slowly deserted him, unable to openly support remarks that indirectly appeared to be racist.
Now Santorum, who has said that he disapproves of consensual homosexual activity between two adults in the privacy of their own home, has weathered the brief, much smaller storm that his comments caused.
Republicans in the Senate are standing by him; House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R., Texas) called what Santorum said “courageous” and bemoaned the fact that his comments had been “distorted.”
Nothing was distorted. Santorum made the link between homosexual activity and bigamy, incest and adultery to make the point that if the government said it couldn’t regulate one kind of sexual activity, it could not regulate any activity.
However, this comment is revealing, because it shows that Santorum holds a consensual activity between two adults in private, in which no one is being harmed, with cheating on your wife and child molestation (which is what the majority of incest cases arise from).
This is a disturbing worldview. It is more disturbing that this does not outrage most Americans. The GLBT community has clearly not achieved the levels of acceptance that other minority groups have.
When one senator can make an indirectly racist comment and be torn from his position while another can make directly bigoted remarks about a sexual minority and still receive the support of his party and many citizens, it is clear that a great deal must still be done to combat the ignorance that surrounds the issues of the GLBT community.
In many states, sodomy (which, in some, also includes oral sex) is still a crime punishable by fines or prison time.
A case challenging Texas’s sodomy laws that is before the Supreme Court sparked Santorum’s comment in the first place.
There are far fewer laws protecting gays and lesbians than other U.S. minorities.
The Christina Aguilera video “Beautiful,” which featured men kissing each other, sparked disgust in many viewers.
Members of the GLBT community still face overt discrimination, even in the U.S. military, a government entity that should not be allowed to practice employment discrimination.
On Temple University’s campus, sexual minority students face intimidation and threats, especially in the University’s dormitories, where harassment of gay and lesbian residents is common.
It is time that sexual minorities receive the same protections and rights that American’s racial minorities won decades ago.
The Temple News editorial board members are:
* Mike Gainer, Editor in Chief
* Jeremy Smith, Managing Editor
* Brian White, News Editor
* Kia Gregory, Opinion Editor
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