Not surprisingly, Santorum turned up at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and preached to the choir about the alleged dangers of allowing gays to openly serve in the military. Dismissing the support of military leaders for repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT), Santorum explained that they had been so "indoctrinated" with political correctness that they can no longer "see straight," as Sam Stein reported in the Huffington Post. (Note: I have no idea whether "see straight" was an intentional pun, but I suspect it was not.)
Santorum told the CPAC crowd that repealing DADT would "sap the readiness and effectiveness of the armed forces," paraphrased Stein. But this makes no sense.
Santorum's claims are easily contradicted by the fact that a considerable majority of military personnel favor a repeal of DADT. According to a 2006 Zogby poll of military personnel who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan or related combat roles, 73 percent said they were comfortable interacting with gays and lesbians, and only 19 percent (less than 1 in 5) said they were uncomfortable. So, since Santorum never bothered to serve in the military himself, maybe we should give more credence to those who actually did.
So what motivates Santorum's fear of gays? Does he believe that every homosexual is going to be leering at all his straight colleagues and trying to "convert" them to the "gay lifestyle"? Does he not realize that it doesn't work that way?
Maybe he should instead be more concerned with the fact that -- unlike their gay colleagues -- so many straight men in the military sexually abuse their female colleagues. In fact, statistically speaking, the gays in the military have much better self control.
And, since reports suggest that a vast majority of sexual abuse cases against military women by their straight male colleagues go unpunished, perhaps Santorum's time would be better spent addressing this very real sexual threat. After all, wouldn't this sort of unwelcome man-on-woman activity itself tend to "sap the readiness and effectiveness of the armed forces?"
Of course, homophobia and misogyny so often go hand-in-hand, and Santorum has never been much of a champion for the feminist cause.
So Santorum remains intently focused on the gays. He really seems to be obsessed with the gays.
All facts considered, I can only conclude that Santorum's anti-gay crusade is driven by little more than plain old-fashioned bigotry. And bigotry is not a valid base on which this nation -- or its military -- should be governed.