Santorum’s Gay Former Aide Defends His Anti-Gay Record
January 06, 2012 11:30 am ET by Carlos Maza
Notoriously anti-gay GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum has repeatedly claimed that he does, in fact, have gay friends, and it appears that he’s been telling the truth. During the January 5 edition of MSNBC’s Hardball, Chris Matthews grilled former Santorum aide Robert Traynham — who is openly gay — over his one-time boss’s abysmal record on LGBT equality:
MATTHEWS: You argue that he’s not anti-gay in terms of identity. Well where is his disagreement with the gay community? Why do they really go after him all the time? What’s the issue there?
TRAYNHAM: Because he speaks very passionately—
MATTHEWS: With Santorum.
TRAYNHAM: Because he speaks very passionately about the fact that he believes that gays and lesbians should not marry. He believes in the sanctity of marriage. He believes that marriage should be defined by one man one woman. And that’s obviously something that runs counter to folks that are like me that happen to fall in love with someone of the same sex. That is a major, major disagreement that a lot of gays and lesbians feel towards Senator Santorum. I can understand—
MATTHEWS: Does he believe that people like you have the right to serve the country with open orientation?
TRAYNHAM: When you say “serve the country” you mean in the military?
MATTHEWS: Yes. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” where is he on that?
TRAYNHAM: I don’t know the answer to that. I don’t know the answer to that.
Despite Traynham’s best efforts to whitewash Santorum’s anti-gay history, the reality is that the GOP hopeful isn’t just your average “traditional marriage” conservative. Throughout his career, Santorum has worked to deny gays and lesbians the ability to adopt children, protection from employment discrimination, and — apparently unbeknownst to Traynham — the right to serve openly in the military. Santorum also opposes any legal recognition of same-sex relationships, including civil unions, and believes that states should have the right to criminalize gay sex.
As for being “anti-gay in terms of identity,” Santorum has stated that homosexuality ‘defies nature,’ claimed that gay sex “undermine[s] the basic tenets of our society and the family,” and infamously compared homosexuality to “man on child, man on dog” relationships. Yesterday, on CNN’s John King, USA, Santorum reiterated his opposition to gay behavior, stating his belief that it is wrong to “act out” on same-sex attractions.
It’s probably for the best that Traynham has a less-than-comprehensive understanding of Santorum’s career of opposing LGBT equality. After all, knowing the full extent of his former boss’s anti-gay positions would probably have made for some pretty awkward conversations around the water cooler.