Transcript: Sen. Rick Santorum on Fox News Sunday

Published August 03, 2003

| FoxNews.com

The following is a transcribed excerpt from "Fox News Sunday," Aug. 3, 2003.

HUME: Continuing our discussion of same-sex marriage, we're joined by Senator Rick Santorum (search) of Pennsylvania, chairman of the Republican Conference (search).

Senator, welcome. Nice to have you.

SANTORUM: Thank you. It's great to be here.

HUME: Constitutional amendment that would define marriage as a union between a man and woman; needed?

SANTORUM: I think the president said we're looking at it. And John Cornyn (search), who's the head of the Constitution Subcommittee in the United States Senate, is going to have a hearing on that in September to determine whether if Massachusetts and New Jersey come forward with establishing a constitutional right ...

HUME: Within those states?

SANTORUM: Well, they may do it on the basis of the U.S. Constitution. And if that's the case, then clearly there is a potential for a constitutional amendment to change that, because if Massachusetts decides that there is a U.S. constitutional right, then others -- people from other states can go to Massachusetts, get married and come back and claim that they should be permitted in other states.

HUME: And one presumes you would support that.

SANTORUM: If that's what's needed, I think that, as the president said ...

HUME: You say needed.

SANTORUM: Well, if it's needed to stop the spread of homosexual marriage, I think the answer is yes. I think ...

HUME: Now, you just heard Elizabeth Birch set forth a lot reasons why she thinks the current legal situation, as it deals with gays, is unfair; that, you know, hospital visitation rights and these other things are denied. Do you think that's fair?

SANTORUM: Well, that's a separate issue. I mean, the issue here is marriage. And to me, the building block -- and I think, to most people in America, number one, it's common sense that a marriage is between a man and a woman. I mean, every civilization in the history of man has recognized a unique bond.

Why? Because -- principally because of children. I mean, it's -- it is the reason for marriage. It's not to affirm the love of two people. I mean, that's not what marriage is about. I mean, if that were the case, then lots of different people and lots of different combinations could be, quote, "married."

Marriage is not about affirming somebody's love for somebody else. It's about uniting together to be open to children, to further civilization in our society.

And that's unique. And that's why civilizations forever have recognized that unique role that needs to be licensed, needs held up as different than anything else because of its unique nurturing effect on children.

And there isn't a statistic out there that doesn't show that married couples, in a healthy marriage, is the best environment in which to raise stable children and is the best thing, long term, for our society.

So it's not about not recognizing somebody's love for somebody else. That's not what it's about. It's not being discriminatory against anybody. It's talking about the good that marriage is for our culture.

HUME: Let's assume, for the sake of discussion, that Massachusetts and/or New Jersey come out and stop short of creating a right within those states to gay marriage, and they bless something like civil unions of the kind they have in Vermont. Where would you stand on that, and what would you feel would be the necessary action in response to that?

SANTORUM: Well, you know, it's hard to, sort of, parse hypotheticals. I would just say this. I think ...

HUME: Well, let's talk about -- let me just put the question to you this way: What do you think of what Vermont has done?

SANTORUM: Well, again, I would just say that there is an inherent good that marriage brings to a society. It's the best way for us to raise and nurture children.

And from my perspective, you have the United States Senate, who has spoken with almost 90 votes, and President Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act, which said that marriage, in a commonsense way, is between a man and a woman, and that is, in fact, the norm that should be continued in our society.

And for a lot of good reasons.

HUME: Right.

SANTORUM: So, I would just say that whatever it needs to be done to continue -- to defend the defense of marriage, if you will, is something I would support.

HUME: But I'm still not clear where you -- I mean, short of marriage, there are these civil unions that confer some of the rights and privileges. It's not called marriage. It isn't recognized as marriage by the state. Obviously, it wouldn't be by -- necessarily by any church. What is your view of that?

SANTORUM: Well, I don't -- I'm not that familiar with civil union laws. I mean, is it just for homosexual couples, or is it for heterosexual couples? I mean, if you are going to allow civil unions for homosexual couples, I guess you could have some lesser degree of commitment for ...

HUME: Well, what do you think of that?

SANTORUM: I guess, my feeling is, I would step back and say that if there are laws that the states want to pass having to do with certain benefits or things like that, that's one thing. But civil union sounds too much to me like marriage and confuses the issues.

And part of the other issue here is, what kind of message are we sending to our children and to society about the importance of the marriage relationship?

And I think when you get into things like civil union, you tend to muddle the picture.

SANTORUM: We already have the family under assault in America. I mean, there's articles written saying, you know, "Why are people so against gay marriage? I mean, you've got divorce rates that are high, you've got, you know, all these other things that are, sort of, tearing the family apart. You know, what's wrong with just, you know, further tearing it apart?"

And I would argue that anything that detracts from the uniqueness and sanctity of that relationship is not going to be a positive thing for our society.

HUME: So if civil unions were to become increasingly widely the norm in states ...

SANTORUM: Yes, you're just, it's a baby step. I mean, that's the way a lot of -- I mean, and I respect them, a lot of organizations say, you know, "Look, we'll take half a loaf now, and then after we've accomplished that then, you know, people will feel comfortable with it, and then we'll take the final step."

I think that marriage is such an important thing, and families are such an important thing for a society, that it needs to be enshrined in a very, very unique way.

HUME: Let me ask you a question based upon something Senator John Kerry said the other day. The Vatican spoke this week on this issue, quite emphatically. Senator Kerry, himself, I believe a Catholic, said, "I believe in the Church, and I care about it enormously, but I think that it's important not to have the Church instructing politicians. That," he says, "is an inappropriate crossing of the line in America."

Agree, disagree?

SANTORUM: I disagree dramatically.

HUME: Well, now you've got the -- it used to be, you remember, when Catholic politicians and the idea of a Catholic presidency was so controversial ...

SANTORUM: Yes, I know.

HUME: ... it was said, "We don't want to have leaders who are being directed from the Vatican." These were directions from the Vatican, in the eyes of many. What do you say?

SANTORUM: It's not a direction from the Vatican. I mean, it's a ...

HUME: Well, they were warned ...

SANTORUM: ... it's the Vatican speaking about what the faith of the Catholic Church is. And, I mean, as every church has a ruling council of some sort that defines what the faith is. And, you know, my feeling is that I have a right as a Catholic politician to uphold the values that I believe are important to me, and important, that I believe, for this country. And I think in this case they're consistent.

But I think it's important to have moral leaders speak out. I mean, that's their right, to speak out and to let politicians, as well as every other American, know what they believe the moral imperatives are for our society.

And that doesn't mean, obviously, everybody has to agree with them, but I think that they should be considered, and certainly people who subscribe to that faith -- and in this case this is a core teaching of the Church -- I think they have an obligation to take that into great consideration, and I think it has -- should have an impact on you.

HUME: Let me take the issue of Catholicism into a slightly other place for one last question with you. There's an ad that's run in a couple of places by a group supporting President Bush's judicial nominees -- Attorney General Pryor of Alabama being principally involved here -- which says that the view of the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee, and elsewhere in the Senate perhaps, is "Catholics need not apply."

Democrats have denounced that ad -- there you see a depiction of it there, the sign on the door says, there you see it, "Catholics need not apply" -- as monstrously unfair, saying, "Look, some of us are Catholics," Senator Kennedy, for example, Senator Durbin complained bitterly about this; that the ad was an outrageous exaggeration of the position they've taken against Judge Pryor, principally for his views on abortion. What do you say?

SANTORUM: Yes. What's outrageous is the line of questioning that's been conducted in the Senate Judiciary Committee about people's, quote, "deeply held beliefs." There are questions and comments made that if you have deeply held beliefs, particularly about moral issues, that you can't be impartial. Which leads me to the conclusion that you have shallowly held beliefs, if you really don't believe in anything, that's OK, but if you have deeply held beliefs, that somehow or another because of those deeply held beliefs you can't be impartial.

What does that mean? That means someone who is a deeply faithful Catholic, and believes as the Catholic Church, in Bill Pryor's case, and that's where he gets his feeling on abortion...

HUME: Yes, but that doesn't apply to all Catholics?

SANTORUM: But it does apply to Catholics who subscribe to what the teachings of the Church are. And so, if you have a Catholic who subscribes to the Catholic teaching, you're saying that some faithful Catholic cannot apply and cannot be a member of the court because of his deep held religious beliefs, that he projects, because that's his belief structure, into his job.

Now, he projects it, in Bill Pryor's case, into his feelings on an issue. What Bill Pryor has done consistently is separate when it comes to the civil service job, which is executing the laws. And you have seen case after case after case where he may have disagreed with the law did, and he has spoken out in disagreement of that law, but he has faithfully executed the law, because that's his job.

And now what they're saying is, "We're going to put that aside, we're not going to take into consideration the fact that he's actually done the impartial job he was elected to do, we're just going to take into consideration what his belief structure is." That is wrong.

HUME: Senator Santorum, it's a pleasure to have you.

SANTORUM: Thank you.

HUME: Thank you for coming.

Our panel, coming up next. Stay tuned.

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