Gingrich, Santorum: We’re Not Pandering for the Gay Vote!
While campaigning in Oskaloosa, Iowa, a small city in the state’s Mahaska County, GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich was thrown in the spotlight when a gay Iowa resident confronted him about gay issues. The politician shockingly told him to vote for Obama if he thought same-sex marriage was his most important issue, reported the Des Moines Register in a Dec. 20 article.
"I asked him if he’s elected, how he plans to engage gay Americans," Scott Arnold, an adjunct professor of writing at William Penn University, told the newspaper. "How are we to support him? And he told me to support Obama."
The two men had a civil discussion about their views and then agreed to disagree, Fox News reported in a Dec. 21 article.
"I think those for whom the only issue that really matters is the definition of marriage, I won’t get their support," Gingrich said.
"I accept that as reality. On the other hand, for those to whom it’s not the central issue in their life, if they care about job creation, if they care about national security, if they care about a better future for the country at large, then I think I’ll get their support."
After a few more questions, Arnold told Gingrich that same-sex marriage was the most important issue to him.
"Well, if that’s most important to you then you should be for Obama," the politician said.
"I am," Arnold said.
"It’s perfectly legitimate. I think it’s perfectly legitimate," Gingrich responded.
Arnold, a Democrat, told the Des Moines Register he went to see Gingrich with an open mind but wanted to hear his stance on LGBT issues.
"When you ask somebody a question and you expect them to support all Americans and have everyone’s general interest, it’s a little bit frustrating and disheartening when you’re told to support the other side -- that he doesn’t need your support," Arnold said.
While Gingrich was visiting a supermarket in Iowa, another Iowa resident confronted him and this time the incident was caught on camera. A man walked up to the politician and bluntly called him a "fucking asshole." Gingrich kept his cool and replied, "Luckily it is a free country."
Rick Santorum was also grilled about LGBT issues and Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren asked the politician how he would win the gay vote in Iowa. Santorum has publicly stated that he is against gay marriage and even has anti-gay backers, such as Bob Vander Plaats, reported Think Progress in a Dec. 21 article.
"How are you going to get the gay vote," Van Susteren asked. "How can you convince them that despite, you know, your views and his [Bob Vander Plaats] views, that you could -- I mean, is there any way that you could convince them to vote for you?"
Santorum says he has nothing against people and that they have the same rights as other Americans.
"But what they did in Iowa and what some are trying to do, not all gays, but some are trying to do is change the laws of this country with respect to what the definition of marriage is," he said.
"But if there are differences, I’m certainly going to speak out on those differences when I think it’s in the best interests of our country to have laws that reflect having men and women raise children and form solid marriage bonds."
Several LGBT citizens and supporters have confronted the GOP candidates during their campaigns. Michele Bachmann argued the issue of same-sex marriage with two high school students and was confronted by an 8-year-old boy who told her, "Miss Bachmann, my mommy’s gay but she doesn’t need any fixing," reported EDGE.
EDGE also reported, when an Iowan gay rights supporter recently told the presidential candidate that 10 percent of the population is gay, referring to the Kinsey Report. Bachmann dismissed the voter and Bachmann’s husband said that the woman’s facts were wrong.
The LGBT community has confronted Rick Perry several times as well. While giving a speech in Iowa, audience members yelled, "Why do you hate gay people so much," and "Go back to Texas!"
About two weeks ago, Perry posted a video ad on YouTube titled "Stronger." The video slammed gays who openly serve in the military and is one of the most "disliked" videos on the website.
This article is part of our "Election 2012" series. Want to read more?
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