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Santorum: Marriage Prevents Poverty -- Unless You're Gay

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum says that everyone but gay men and lesbians can stay out of poverty by just getting married. At a campaign event in Muscatine, Iowa Thursday, a questioner asked Santorum how his anti-poverty plan
9 years ago by David
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Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum says that everyone but gay men and lesbians can stay out of poverty by just getting married.

At a campaign event in Muscatine, Iowa Thursday, a questioner asked Santorum how his anti-poverty plan would help the gays who can't legally marry in 45 states.

"If you graduate from high school, you get married before you have children, and of course you work -- that's sort of a given, you have to work -- you do those three things, there's a 2 percent chance you'll be in poverty," the candidate said, referring to a 2009 Brookings Institution study.

"It's important to value the institution of marriage. Because the institution of marriage is where men and women bond together for the purposes of having and raising children, and giving children their birthright, which is a mom and a dad," Santorum explained. "And so what we need to have is have a society that promotes that because that has an intrinsic value that is better than every other relationship."

"I love it when the left says, 'Quit trying to impose your morality on us!' What's that? That's their morality and they are now imposing it on us," the Pennsylvania conservative said of declining marriage rates. "They want to drive faith and faith and moral conclusions that come from faith out of the public square and out of the public law and replace it with their values. Don't give me this idea -- I hear this: 'Oh, you're a moralist. You're trying to impose your values.' Everybody's trying to impose their values. That's what America's about."

"You're trying to impose your values," the candidate said, pointing to the young man that asked the question. "You have every right to do so. Come into the public square. Make your case as to why same sex marriage should be the law of the land. I have no problem with that at all, but accept the fact that other people that disagree with you don't hate people that disagree with them. They just happen to believe that marriage is a good that should be preserved."

But a recent study (PDF) by Economic Policy Institute indicated that Santorum may have things backwards.

"Continually high poverty rates among blacks and Latinos are the result of high unemployment and incarceration rates and declining shares of good jobs in the American economy," report author Algernon Austin wrote. "The decline in marriage among these groups is a collateral consequence of these negative economic conditions."

A 2009 Williams Institute report found that same sex couples were significantly impacted by marriage discrimination because they could not jointly file federal tax returns, transfer property, receive Social Security survival benefits and other factors.

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