Bruce Jenner got support from a surprising quarter on Saturday: Rick Santorum
 
“If he says he’s a woman, then he’s a woman,” Santorum, the former GOP senator from Pennsylvania, said about Jenner in South Carolina, according to BuzzFeed.
 
Jenner, the former Olympic gold medalist and reality television star, announced last week that he identified as and was transitioning to a woman. 
 
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Santorum, who is considering a second straight bid for the Republican nomination, has long had a reputation as a staunch social conservative.
 
“My responsibility as a human being is to love and accept everybody. Not to criticize people for who they are. I can criticize, and I do, for what people do, for their behavior. But as far as for who they are, you have to respect everybody,” Santorum said.
 
Santorum did add that “these are tough issues” for both businesses and society, including the question of whether Jenner could use a women’s bathroom.
 
Santorum has been one of the GOP's most strident opponents of gay marriage over the years, at one point comparing the issue to the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. 
 
Last month, Santorum said he wouldn't attend a gay wedding – something other potential GOP candidates have said they would.

- Updated at 11:59 a.m.