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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Santorum scores surprise surge
by Lisa Keen, Keen News Service
2012-02-08

This article shared 2130 times since Wed Feb 8, 2012
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The one Republican presidential candidate who gay Republicans most love to hate scored three victories on the campaign trail Tuesday, reviving his struggling, longshot bid for the party nomination.

Rick Santorum, who has the most hostile positions on gay-related issues of the four-man field of major candidates for the Republican presidential nomination, won the Missouri primary, and the Minnesota and Colorado caucuses.

The surprise sweep by Santorum, coupled with the news Tuesday afternoon that the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled against California's same-sex marriage ban, gives Santorum, once again, a prominent stage on which to emphasize his opposition to same-sex marriage.

But even before the polls closed Tuesday, Santorum issued a statement, calling the Ninth Circuit ruling "another in a long line of radical activist rulings by this rogue circuit."

"The people of California spoke clearly at the ballot box that they wanted marriage defined in the traditional manner of one man and one woman," said Santorum. "And for a court, any court, to usurp the power and will of the people in this manner on an issue this fundamental to the foundation of our society is wrong."

Santorum echoed a sentiment expressed by Gingrich before, saying the Ninth Circuit should be abolished and that the country needs "a President that is willing to stand up to the Judiciary."

"We need to have a President who will fight to protect marriage once and for all with a federal marriage amendment. I am committed to being that President."

Santorum won Missouri with 55 percent of the vote, compared to Romney's 25 percent, Paul's 12 percent, and 4 percent for uncommitted delegates. Gingrich, who is promoting himself vigorously as the field's most conservative contender, was not on the ballot in Missouri, a factor that, no doubt, boosted Santorum's take.

In Minnesota, where Gingrich was on the ballot, Santorum won with 45 percent of the vote, compared to Paul's 27 percent, Romney's 17 percent, and Gingrich's 11 percent.

But the Missouri win was not necessarily a fluke: Santorum won the Colorado caucuses with 40 percent, over Romney's 35 percent, Gingrich's 13 percent, and Paul's 12 percent.

Romney, who still has the lead in winning delegates toward the 1,144 needed to secure the party's nomination, won the Nevada caucuses handily on Saturday, with 50 percent of the vote. Gingrich came in second with 21 percent, followed by Paul with 19 percent, and Santorum with 11 percent.

Romney and Gingrich also reacted to the Proposition 8 ruling.

Romney said it amounted to "unelected judges" violating the "will of the people." He vowed that, if elected president, he would "protect traditional marriage and appoint judges who interpret the Constitution as it is written and not according to their own politics and prejudices."

Gingrich went a step further, hammering his theme that equal rights for LGBT people equals religious bigotry. He said the ruling "exposed" Americans to the "radical overreach of federal judges," who he said were continuing their "assault on the Judeo-Christian foundations of the United States."

Gingrich also likened the Ninth Circuit decision to the U.S. Supreme Court decision, Dred Scott v. Sanford, in 1856 that ruled African Americans were not citizens with constitutional protection and Congress could not prohibit slavery. He also likened it to the 1973 decision Roe v. Wade, which said the constitutional promise of right to privacy includes the right of a woman to choose to have an abortion.

"Judicial solutions don't solve contentious social issues once and for all," said Gingrich, in his statement. "Should the Supreme Court fail to heed the disastrous lessons of its own history and attempt to impose its will on the marriage debate in this country by affirming today's Ninth Circuit decision, it will bear the burden of igniting a constitutional crisis of the first order."

Gingrich said that the Ninth Circuit judges, rather than reviewing law to ensure that it conforms to the constitution, were "substituting their own political views for the constitutional right of the people to make judgments about the definition of marriage."

Ron Paul did not issue a statement about Proposition 8 but repeated his frequent theme about the importance of protecting personal liberty. But the GOP candidate reactions were predictable. All four Republican presidential candidates oppose legalizing marriage for same-sex couples, but Paul has urged that government get out of the business of licensing marriages.

R. Cooper Clarke, head of the national Log Cabin Republican group, expressed disappointment at the GOP candidates' statements, particularly that of Romney, whom several Log Cabin chapter straw polls shows as the favorite of gay Republicans.

"In a time when conservatives agree that the institution of marriage is in need of support," said Clarke, "Republicans should celebrate gay and lesbian Americans embracing the ideals of marriage and creating families."

"Governor Romney's comments attacking the court for striking down Proposition 8," said Clarke, " reflect an unfortunate kneejerk opposition to expanding liberty and a poorly calculated political effort to appeal to a shrinking base of primary voters opposed to marriage equality.

"These rollercoaster primaries and caucuses indicate to me that the GOP base remains fractured," said Human Rights Campaign spokesman Michael Cole-Schwartz Wednesday. "No matter who ends up as the nominee, [Santorum's] positions will be far out of the mainstream on LGBT issues and this is particularly true for Senator Santorum who has made a career out of opposing LGBT equality."

A few people unhappy with the candidates' positions on gay issues threw glitter at them this week. The StarTribune of Minnesota said a man threw glitter at Santorum as he was entering an auditorium in Blaine, Minnesota, Tuesday. Santorum told the paper he gets those kinds of greetings "at almost every event," but some Santorum supporters reportedly chased after the protester.

CNN news coverage showed someone tossing glitter onto Romney as he was shaking hands with supporters. A CNN reporter noted that Secret Service agents jumped on the man and removed him from the room.

Romney was also hit with glitter at a rally in Minnesota earlier in the week, and quipped that it must have been a celebration of his victory in the Florida primary.

Coming out of Tuesday's results, Romney has 115 delegates, Gingrich 38, Santorum 34, and Paul 20. Maine Republicans are holding caucuses all this week.

Next Tuesday, the primaries are in Michigan and Arizona.

2012 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


This article shared 2130 times since Wed Feb 8, 2012
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