Los Angeles Times Writer Wrong On Sen. Santorum's 2003 "Man on Dog" Comment

In a Sunday, September 3, 2006, opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times ("A centrist Dem takes on a GOP culture warrior"*), writer Michael McGough falsely asserted that Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) "once likened gay relationships to 'man on dog' sex."

The truth? Sen. Santorum did no such thing. The myth of Santorum equating gay relationships to "'man on dog' sex" stems from an April 2003 interview with the Associated Press. An unedited excerpt of the interview can be found here at USA Today's web site. Here's what Sen. Santorum actually said in response to a question from the interviewer (emphasis mine):

Every society in the history of man has upheld the institution of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman. Why? Because society is based on one thing: that society is based on the future of the society. And that's what? Children. Monogamous relationships. In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality —

Clearly, Sen. Santorum was speaking in the context of the institution of marriage. Marriage, Santorum stated, has always been upheld "as a bond between a man and a woman" and not anything else. In addition, no "likening" of gay relationships to "'man on dog' sex" was ever made by Santorum. McGough's statement is simply false.

From McGough's piece in today's Los Angeles Times (bold mine):

Santorum's secret weapon — not only in debates but on the campaign trail — may be his personality. Critics accustomed to thinking of him as a shrill conservative cultural warrior — he once likened gay relationships to "man on dog" sex — need to be reminded that on a personal level Santorum can be genial, funny and self-deprecating.

(* The title in the on-line version differs with that in the print edition.)

Dave Pierre
Dave Pierre is a contributing writer to NewsBusters and the creator of TheMediaReport.com.