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RNC 2012: Santorum calls for end to ‘assault on marriage’

CHRIS JOHNSON | Washington Blade
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
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TAMPA, Fla. — Speakers at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday hammered President Obama for what they said were failed economic policies while largely staying away from social or LGBT issues — although marriage was a cornerstone in the high-profile speech by former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum.

The former Republican presidential candidate talked about running for the White House and shaking hands with people from many walks of life as he criticized Obama — even misrepresenting the president by saying he was “waiving the work requirement for welfare.”

Michael Key, Washington Blade

Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum speaks at the Republican National Convention.

Santorum devoted a significant portion of his speech to what he said was the decline of the institution of marriage.

“The fact is that marriage is disappearing in places where government dependency is highest,” Santorum said. “Most single mothers do heroic work and an amazing job raising their children, but if America is going to succeed, we must stop the assault on marriage and the family.”

Santorum never explicitly mentioned same-sex marriage during his speech, although the Republican has a history of vocal opposition to LGBT rights. Still, the former senator said President Obama, who in May endorsed marriage equality, has enacted policies that “undermine the traditional family.”

Additionally, Santorum criticized the Obama administration for immigration policy, saying “with his refusal to enforce our immigration laws, President Obama rules like he is above the law.” The criticism could be a reference to many actions the administration has taken — including providing certain young, undocumented immigrants with deferred action on deportation — but also could be a reference to the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to consider undocumented immigrants a low priority for removal if they’re in a same-sex marriage.

Jerame Davis, executive director of the National Stonewall Democrats, said Santorum’s remarks on marriage shouldn’t be a surprise given that delegates at the convention earlier in the day approved a party platform including anti-gay language.

“Earlier today, delegates at the Republican convention enthusiastically voted in favor of the most anti-LGBT platform ever adopted by a political party,” Davis said. “It was a low point for the party and our country. It came as no surprise, then, to hear Rick Santorum lecturing delegates and the American people on ‘traditional families’ during the primetime speeches tonight.”

No other speakers at the convention on Tuesday made marriage or social issues as great a part of their speeches as Santorum, but others did touch on marriage.

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