Straight Republican Presidential candidate and Urban Dictionary entry Rick Santorum was a guest on The Rachel Maddow Show last night, and spent a significant chunk of his interview talking about The Gays.

After Maddow called him “fundamentally wrong on civics” for suggesting Congress could overrule the Supreme Court, the pair began having arguments over the constitutionality of various things—from partial-birth abortion to same-sex marriage. Their interruption-filled back and forth was going nowhere until Maddow said, bluntly, “Can I ask you if you believe people choose to be gay?”

Record scratch! Tire screech! Katy tweet!

Santorum: You know, I’ve sort of never answered that question...Because I don’t really know the answer to that question! But I suspect there are all sorts of reasons that people end up the way they are. And I’ll sort of leave it at that.

Maddow: It matters...if it’s an immutable characteristic. You don’t know if it’s immutable or not?

Santorum: I don’t know. And if it is, that leads to a whole bunch of other situations. I mean, we have, for example, allowed in the law of the land, sex selection abortions. So if you can determine whether one of your children is gay, should we pass a law saying you can’t abort a child because you found out that child is gay? Because that child is a woman? How would you feel about a law like that?

Maddow: But you’re worrying about the consequences of this without saying whether or not you know it’s true.

Santorum: Because I don’t.

She asked him again. And, again, he dodged and said things like, “But I have friends who no longer choose to live the gay lifestyle!”

Maddow: So do you think that some people choose to be gay?

Santorum: There are people who are alive today who identified themselves as gay and lesbian and who no longer are. That’s do. I’ve met people in that case.

Maddow: You think people can choose to be heterosexual?

Santorum: All I’m saying is I do know people who have lived the gay lifestyle and no longer live it.

Maddow: You believe it can be orchestrated?

Santorum: I don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about it...Changing the legal standard creates a slippery slope...plural marriage. The court opened up a pandora’s box.

Maddow: You’re thinking beastiality?

Ahhh, here we go. Back to the infamous 2003 remarks that forever connected his name to anal sex. For those who’ve forgotten, this is what he said:

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.

After Santorum claimed his words had been taken out of context, Maddow asked, “Why did you say the word ‘dog’?”

Santorum: Because I was quoting Justice White in his 1986 decision, and that’s why I was referring to his opinion that was the majority opinion at the time. That’s why I discussed it the way I discussed it.

Maddow: Do you see how it hurt gay people?

Santorum: I wish I had never said that. It was a flippant comment made to a reporter who was not being a particularly professional in the way she was conducting her interview, but that’s not an excuse for me. I take responsibility for what I said. It was a flippant comment...and I wish I hadn’t said it.

So he regrets those hurtful and ignorant comments, but still thinks homosexuality might be a choice. Win some, lose some I guess! Though, when it comes to his election prospects, it’s mostly the latter.


Contact the author at bobby@jezebel.com.

Image via MSNBC/Screengrab.