Santorum backs ban of same-sex marriage

By Danielle Willman
The Eastern Echo

Rick Santorum, one of the top contenders for the Republican nomination, has expressed strong support for the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would amend the Constitution to ban same-sex marriage.
According to the 2010 census, there are an estimated 131,729 same-sex married couple households in the country.
The Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA), different versions of which have been put before Congress since 2003, would invalidate those marriages and make future same-sex marriages illegal.
This is a controversial issue in national politics, drawing diverse opinions from all backgrounds. At Eastern Michigan University, the issue has found little support, from faculty and students alike.
Jeffrey Bernstein, a political science professor, said he doesn’t understand how the amendment would be feasible.
“I can’t imagine how it would work if this amendment were to happen, and say all of these marriages that were binding are not,” Bernstein said. “That strikes me as rather chaotic.”
Mary Larkin, project coordinator for the LGBT Resource Center, expressed disapproval of the amendment.
“At the end of the day, one of our first priorities is ensuring forward progress and equality for LGBT individuals at this institution, at a state level and at a national level,” Larkin said.
Many students have also been vocal in expressing their distaste for the amendment.
“It’s ridiculous,” sophomore Josh Richardson said. “It’s a huge step back from all the progress LGBT individuals have made in the last 40 years.”
Freshman Jessica Brown said the amendment would threaten social harmony within the United States.
“I feel like if [the amendment] ever happened, it would be really bad,” Brown said. “It would stir up so much trouble between everyone who is pro-gay rights. It could really destroy us.”
Richardson said the U.S. lags behind much of the developed world in acknowledging the rights of LGBT individuals.
“In a lot of the developed world, it’s no longer gay marriage, it’s just marriage,” Richardson said. “So here, it’s still gay marriage, and it’s still a huge issue. That just shows how far behind we are.”
Laurie Stevens, a senior, agreed with Richardson, saying the amendment would be “an embarrassment.”
Students who opposed the amendment also expressed a total lack of support for Santorum’s campaign.
“The man is a joke, I think that’s safe to say,” Stevens said.
Richardson said he “can’t believe he’s still in the running,” and Brown said, “I feel like we’re getting Punk’d.”
Professor Bernstein doubted Santorum’s chances of winning due to his limited appeal.
“Santorum appeals very much to about 40 percent of the electorate, and you don’t win with 40 percent,” he said.
However, Santorum does have strong support. He is currently in second place in the Republican field, behind former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in the polls.
In a recent Eastern Echo Eagle on the Street, several students endorsed Santorum for his socially conservative ideology.
Bernstein said although he doesn’t agree with his beliefs, he respects Santorum for being honest with the American people instead of carefully crafting a disingenuous political persona.
“I don’t see the world the way Rick Santorum sees the world, but this is not a slickly-managed candidate,” Bernstein said. “This is not somebody who vets every comment he makes by a focus group. I believe he’s genuine, and I do say that as a compliment.”

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