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Former Sen. Santorum sees big difference between black, gay troops

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) tried to draw distinctions between race and sexual orientation on Sunday, as he continued to make his case against allowing gays to serve openly in the military.

Santorum was pressed on his position on “Fox News Sunday” by Chris Wallace, who noted that opponents of integrating the military had made similar arguments about potential cohesion issues decades ago.

But the GOP presidential candidate made clear that he thinks there is a big difference between the two.

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“I know the whole gay community is trying to make this the new Civil Rights Act,” Santorum said. “It’s not. It’s not the same. You are black by the color of the skin. You are not homosexual necessarily.”

Santorum also appeared to take issue with Wallace’s contention that there was a biological aspect to being gay, calling it a "behavioral issue."

“The idea that somehow or another that this is the equivalent, that being black and being gay is the same is simply not true,” Santorum said. “There are all sorts of studies out there that suggest just the contrary. And there are people who were gay, and lived the gay lifestyle, and aren’t anymore.”

“I don’t think that’s the case with anybody that’s black,” he added.


Santorum’s comments came a couple of weeks after he criticized what he called injecting social policy into the military, saying that sexual activity had no place in the armed services.

The Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, implemented early in the Clinton administration, officially came to a close last month.

On Sunday, Santorum also suggested that allowing gays to serve openly could hurt the military’s ability to recruit and retain soldiers.

“They’re in close quarters. They live with people. They obviously shower with people,” Santorum said. “You’re talking about the ability for people to be able to have that unit cohesion, to be able to work together in an efficient, fighting way.”