GOP debate: Santorum says he’d be a voice for all, ‘whether gay or straight’

MANCHESTER, N.H. - Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum defended their stance on gay rights during Sunday morning's Republican presidential debate.

Both have said they are against gay marriage — an important issue to that community — and Romney has had to defend his record on social issues to conservatives, who are suspicious of some his actions during his tenure as governor of Massachusetts.

Romney was asked about an interview he did with a gay publication in 1994 — during his failed Senate bid — where he said he would be a voice for gay rights in the Republican Party.

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Romney pointed out he had a gay member of his cabinet as governor and he never discriminated in his appointments.

"If you're looking for somebody who will discriminate against gays ... they will not find that in me," he said.

Asked the last time he stood up for gay rights, he responded: "Right now."

The question then went to Santorum, one of the most conservative candidates in the primary. Satorum has made traditional family values a major talking point of his presidential campaign.


The former Pennsylvania senator said he'd be a voice "for making sure every person in American, whether gay or straight," had equal opportunities.

He was then asked what his reaction would be if his son told him he was gay. His response got a strong round of applause from the audience.

"I would love him as much as I did the second before he said it," Santorum replied.