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The Gazette KCRG
Posted December 12, 2011
At Cornell, Santorum defends ‘essential truths’ of campaign

MOUNT VERNON — It’s doubtful he made many converts, but for nearly 90 minutes Rick Santorum defended the “essential truths we stand by,” those truths that form the bedrock of his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum brought his campaign for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination to Cornell College Monday, Dec. 12, 2011. (James Q. Lynch/SourceMedia Group News)

Santorum brought his “Faith, Family & Freedom Tour” to Cornell College in Mount Vernon Dec. 12 where junior Dan Rowland, the president of the College Republicans, said there are typically six to 10 people at a chapter meeting. Nearly 100 people, mostly students, came to hear — and challenge — Santorum.

The first question — and a recurring theme of his question-and-answer session — was about marriage and his opposition to same-sex marriage.

Santorum defended traditional marriage, telling students children “by every qualitative and quantitative study — and common sense — do better in homes with a mother and a father.”

Traditional marriage — one man and one woman — is “something of nature … not only biblical, but a reflection of nature,” he said to a skeptical audience.

Challenged on the idea of government telling people who they can love, Santorum agreed everyone has “the right to love whoever you want.

The question is, he said, whether the law should be changed to accommodate same-sex marriage.

“Why is it a good thing for society?” he asked, adding that those who want to change the law should “come into the public square and make your argument.”

In Iowa, he continued, that’s not what the proponents of same-sex marriage did.

“They went to the courts because they knew they couldn’t win in the public square,” Santorum said, adding that in 32 state referendums on legalizing same-sex marriage “it’s 0-and-32.”

“In the 32 states where public voted, traditional marriage won,” he said.

While he conceded to that in some cases the courts have made the right decision to protect rights, “they also decided Dred Scott and Ferguson v. Plessey,” ruling in the former that African Americans could not claim U.S. citizenship and, therefore, could not bring suit in federal court and, in the latter, upholding the constitutionality of “separate but equal.”

Joe Harrity, a Cornell student from Minneapolis, didn’t buy that argument or much of anything else Santorum said about immigration, education, energy exploration in wildlife areas or defense spending.

“But I appreciate him coming here and answering questions,” he said. “I’m glad to have that dialogue.”

Likewise, Anders Swanson of Chicago found it interesting to hear Santorum give specific answer, but rejected the former Pennsylvania senator’s perspective that “there is just one answer.”

“That rubs liberal arts students who are taught to think critically as just wrong,” Swanson said.

Santorum later spoke at the Linn County Republican Party’s Christmas party. Tuesday he’ll have town hall meetings at 10:30 a.m. at the Lincoln Café in Belle Plaine and at 4 p.m. at the Fireside Pub in Manchester.

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