Some residents feel Santorum overstepped bounds with comments

April 25, 2003|by LAURA ERNDE

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Everyone has a right to an opinion, but some Franklin County, Pa., residents say Sen. Rick Santorum should have kept his to himself recently.

Santorum, R-Pa., came under fire this week for his comments comparing homosexuality to polygamy and incest.

Santorum said he is not intolerant of gay people and his remarks were "simply a reflection of the law."

Santorum referred to a 5-4 Supreme Court decision in 1986 that upheld Georgia's legal ban on sodomy.

In an Associated Press interview, Santorum said, "If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual (gay) sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything."

Some Franklin County residents interviewed on the street this week said the remarks were out of line.


"He put his foot in his face," said Karen McDermott, 70, of Chambersburg.

"He's entitled to his opinion. However, many people don't agree with him, like us Democrats," said her husband, John McDermott.

Howard Guest, a retiree from Chambersburg, said it upsets him that people always seem to take a negative view.

"It just proves how sensitive people are today to 'politically incorrect' comments and how they can be used very easily to someone's disadvantage," he said.

Betty Taylor of Fayetteville, Pa., who declined to give her age, said the comment probably was spoken without a lot of thought.

"He should have chosen his words more carefully," she said.

Robin Cornelius, 30, of Fayetteville, said people have a right to their own sexuality.

Donna Clepper, 45, of Chambersburg, agreed.

"Sen. Santorum should keep his mouth shut. I think people have a right to live the lifestyle that they choose. I don't think the government has any right to tell people how they can practice their sexuality," she said.

People have a right to their personal lives, said Max Stine, 46, of State Line, Pa.

"What they do in their bedroom is their business and leave it at that," he said.

As a Catholic, Scott Fickes, 28, of Chambersburg, said he opposes the gay lifestyle.

But he does condemn Santorum's comments.

"It was bad form, really. Being a political leader I don't think that was the best time to say that," Fickes said.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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