Students Jeer Santorum on New Hampshire Blitz

by
January 6, 2012
By , The New York Times

CONCORD, N.H. — As Rick Santorum sprinted Thursday through New Hampshire, a state with fewer social conservatives than Iowa, his views on social issues like same-sex marriage were quickly challenged.

A midday event in front of a gathering of college students here turned into a testy exchange in which Mr. Santorum compared allowing gay couples to marry to polygamy, apparently equating the two as equally undesirable.

“If you’re not happy unless you’re married to five other people, is that O.K.?” he asked.

The students booed Mr. Santorum during the 10-minute exchange and loudly booed when he left the room. The students were part of College Convention 2012, a forum organized by New England College and open to students from all over the state, regardless of political party.

Mr. Santorum, a Republican former senator from Pennsylvania, has generated criticism in the past for his views on social issues. In 2003, he argued that the Supreme Court should not overturn state bans on homosexual sex, saying that could create a precedent allowing bigamy, polygamy and incest.

“In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality,” Mr. Santorum said in a 2003 interview with an Associated Press reporter. “That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing.”

In an interview with CNN’s John King on Thursday, Mr. Santorum defended his 2003 comments, saying: “I said it’s not those things. I didn’t connect them. I specifically excluded them.”

The exchanges about social issues came as Mr. Santorum campaigned across New Hampshire on Thursday, telling voters that they needed a candidate with “core convictions.”

After his near-victory in Iowa on Tuesday, Mr. Santorum drew a crush of reporters and large, curious crowds as he visited a Rotary Club meeting, held several town-hall-style meetings and slowly fought his way through a vintage-looking diner during lunchtime.

As he shook hands in a crowd that would have been unimaginable just weeks ago, Mr. Santorum was repeatedly approached for his autograph by eager residents, most of whom said they had first heard of the former Pennsylvania senator in the last several days.

To read more, visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/06/us/politics/students-jeer-santorum-on-new-hampshire-blitz.html

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