DICKERSON: All right, I’m going to pivot now to an issue that you talked about this week in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage. Some of your competitors in the Republican race have said, well, the issue has been decided and the country needs to move on.
You have taken a different position; you’ve said, no, there needs to be a conversation and you’re trying to lead that conversation. You said that the ruling potentially, quote, “disrupts the foundation of the world.”
What does that mean?
SANTORUM: Well, I said three things.
Number one, that there’s a real question here about the role of the courts in our society, Justice Scalia I think said it best. He says when the — when we subordinate the rights of the people to nine unelected judges, we can no longer be called a democracy.
And what the court did here as Justice Roberts said, was — there’s no constitutional basis for what they did. They simply just acted out of, as one said, a whim. That’s not how a democracy functions. That’s not how a republic functions.
So you’ve got to a basic question, are we going to stand up to the court in doing something that’s really outside of their bounds?
Number two, there’s an assault on religious liberty here. The court basically said, no, churches, you’re allowed to teach what you want but it really didn’t say you’re allowed to practice what you want. I mean, this is, again, a huge infringement on the foundational right that we have which is the First Amendment.
And then third, and this is to the point you make, that it’s a — it really is a further erosion of this founding — foundational building block of society, which is the nuclear family.
And this goes further — I mean, over the last 40 years, we’ve seen a degradation of the nuclear family, no doubt about it. But this further, I say, put the nail in the coffin that we now disconnect the nuclear family from the idea that it’s there for the purpose of having and raising children.
Marriage no longer about kids. It’s simply about adults. And I think that — now that United States is a — it’s still the moral leader of the world, that we’ve now disconnected marriage from children, I think that has profound consequences for not just for America but for the world.
DICKERSON: Can I talk about those consequences a little bit?
In your remarks you said that the children need a mother and father to have a stable, healthy home. You said and also that they need heterosexual parents will love those children and raise them to be good citizens of America.
Can same-sex couples not raise children to achieve those same things?
SANTORUM: I think what we have to do as society, orient ourselves toward what’s best. What we know what’s best from thousands of years in human history is for children to be raised with mothers and fathers, preferably but not always, but preferably with their biological mothers and fathers but certainly adoptive homes are great and wonderful places, too.
But if we are going to try to aim for the best, then we have to have laws that orient society to what’s best.
And we have laws that say, fathers, really, you don’t have to raise your children; mothers, you know, we’re going to provide all sorts of things that make fathers less necessary, if you will.
If you have laws that say, you know, marriage isn’t about children, now for the first time in the history of our country a majority of children born out of wedlock, which is about 40-45 percent of children in America today, are born in homes that the father is still living. That’s — they’re seeing a huge increase in this.
Why? Because we have now said marriage isn’t — I mean, children — having children has nothing to do with marriage so people aren’t getting married. That’s not a good situation to maximize the potential for each and every one of our children.
And that’s really what I’m talking about here, is setting up policies that orient ourselves toward the best end, which is a healthy, stable family for children.
DICKERSON: But, quickly, which is better for families, or which is more of a challenge to families, divorce and adultery and out-of- wedlock births or same-sex marriage? Which is worse? If you had to spend your time prioritizing on one of the two.
SANTORUM: Yes. Yes, I — as you know, John, I’ve been oriented on that, focused on that for a long time. I wrote a book 10 years ago called, “It Takes a Family.” And didn’t talk very much about gay marriage back then; it wasn’t as big of a topic.
I talked a lot about the breakdown of the institution of marriage, the role that fathers need to play, that, you know, 96 percent of Americans are in those types of traditional homes. That is the bigger problem.
And so I would agree with you on that, that we really need to focus a lot more time and energy on reknitting the American family, the — and allowing children to have the best opportunities to succeed.