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Santorum and Family Values

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Santorum and Family Values

by Rob Kall,

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Rick Santorum says he's pro family. Pro "ideal theoretical" family maybe. But at age 45, the young senator not  be old enough yet to have adult children. For all he knows, he might be surprised with the fact that one of his seven kids is already gay-- just like so many other republicans, so many other Americans. That's because it is not that uncommon. Once healthy families discover that a member is gay, they adjust to the new idea, get used to it and continue loving that family member.

Making statements may sell to a homophobic, self-righteous portion of the rural voters who elected him. Maybe in Williamstown and Punxatawney, Bellefonte and Penn Hills PA the families defy the statistics and there are no gay adult children in those towns. After all, that's what we're talking about. Moms and Dads have kids who grow up to discover they are homosexual or lesbian,  bisexual or transsexual. The parents don't plan for it. The kids don't plan for it. It happens. And healthy families adjust and adapt to it like they do to out of wedlock childbirth, abortions, heterosexual marriages, job ups and downs and all the other changes that make life interesting and challenging.

Then there are the unhealthy families. The parents reject their children when they discover a different sexual orientation. Some disown them. Some families break up over it. It sounds like Senator Santorum would lean towards the latter, since people with non-heterosexual orientations DO have sex. They don't just describe or think of themselves that way.

Then there are the unhealthy families that join churches in which trusted ministers sexually abuse children, and there are families where fathers sexually abuse daughters and sons, often while mothers turn a blind eye. The percentage of the population, the people who have been subjected to this is probably greater than the percentage of the population that is gay.

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So we have a handful of families where none of this goes on. Still, with an estimated ten percent of the population being gay, that leaves, for each gay person, let's say two parents, a brother or sister, two aunts, two uncles, four cousins. That works out to seven family members per gay person.  Factor that out to the population and eighty percent of us are related to someone who is gay-- more if you consider that some people have step-parents, siblings and larger extended families. And if you are one of the odd twenty percent of the population who don't have a family member who fits this profile, you surely have a friend or neighbor who does. For example, if none of George W.'s immediate family or cousins are gay, then he only has to look as far as his good buddy Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter. We haven't heard Dick Cheney saying what a nice guy Rick Santorum is. 

So who does that leave for Santorum to please. A handful of homophobes, church lady spinsters? The idea that homosexuality is evil or perverted may be embraced by the twenty five percent of the Americans who are fundamentalists. But they do not represent the typical American family. First, they are just as likely to have the same percentage of incidence of homosexuality in their own families-- but maybe they are among the families who don't keep on loving their children. I doubt even this. And second, if they do reject their children, their brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, then they are certainly in the minority and certainly not healthy families. And THAT, is what Santorum claims to be talking about-- FAMILY.

So, let's get a few things straight. There have been no Weapons of Mass Destruction discovered in Iraq yet, and Santorum is not really talking about what's good for the family. He's working on a different agenda just like the president, who says Senator Santorum is a good guy-- "inclusive" Good for who? Including who?" Certainly not the average American Family. "Senator Santorum's remarks are deeply discriminatory and are antithetical to bringing people together," Elizabeth Birch, executive director of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement. "If this is how the president defines inclusion, then it clearly calls into question the depth of compassion in his conservatism."

As the Supreme Court hears the case which  inspired Santorum’s comments,  dealing with sodomy laws-- about what consenting adults do behind closed doors-- perhaps Santorum should consider the family values of love, compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, understanding, support, and loyalty. Ican't imagine which values he espouses, but I don't think they could be more important than this list.

Rob Kall is the editor/publisher of, a progessive news and opinion website, and organizer of cutting edge meetings that bring together world leaders, such as the Winter Brain Meeting and the StoryCon Summit Meeting on the Art, Science and Application of Story This article is copyright by Rob Kall, but permission is granted for reprint in print, email, blog, or web media so long as this credit is attached.

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