It's no surprise to anyone that Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum has not been shy in denouncing same-sex marriage on the campaign trail. While Santorum's beliefs, which he attributes to his Catholic faith, are possibly more extreme than those of the other GOP candidates -- over the weekend he said convicts are better suited to be parents than a same-sex couple -- on Monday he suggested that his own stance on the issue is similar if not the same as President Barack Obama's.
The only difference is between myself and any of them [the other Republican candidates and Obama] is that when somebody asks me a question I answer it, Santorum said during a town hall meeting in New Hampshire, according to a CNN video of the event.
When a reporter asked White House Press Secretary Jay Carney about Santorum's statement on Tuesday, he was quick to deny the charge and distance the president from the inflammatory rhetoric Santorum has become known for this election cycle.
The president is very proud of this administration's record on those issues, Carney said. I have no updates for you on the president's position on same-sex marriage. I think that you know and others here know and understand his position broadly on LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender] issues is quite significantly different from that particular candidate's views.
Although Obama has not publicly supported same-sex marriage rights as president, his administration has made strides toward promoting LGBT equality. Last year, the president achieved the repeal of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell in the military, while in February 2011 he directed the U.S. Justice Department to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act in court after determining the law -- which bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages -- is unconstitutional.
The White House Web site has also dedicated a page to LGBT issues as a platform for the Obama administration's commitment to eliminating barriers to equality, fighting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender equality, and engaging LGBT communities across the country.
Although Obama has publicly supported civil unions between same-sex partners, he has stopped short of endorsing marriage, althiough he once did so as a Chicago politician. According to White House aides, Obama views on the issue are still evolving, a far cry from Santorum's long history of opposition toward all government recognition of same-sex relationships.