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Signorile on the indelible stain of Santorum

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Mike Signorile at HuffPost:

For the GOP, Santorum's support underscores how the evangelical right still has a stranglehold on the party, and how much enthusiasm it now shows for Mitt Romney will be interesting to watch. Santorum forced Romney to veer far to the right, doing damage that Romney may or may not be able to repair. If Romney loses, the party will continue to be in chaos, as the hard-right base stakes its claim that the loss was due to a lack of a true conservative nominee.

For the rest of us, the the extremism we've witnessed among the Republican candidates -- and watching them blow themselves up -- might have brought glee in some quarters. And if Romney loses, there will no doubt be more of that. But the hateful rhetoric we've seen over the past few months, from Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, and, most notably, Rick Santorum, has had real consequences.

The attacks by all of them on the civil rights of American citizens -- demeaning gay people in ugly ways -- are the kind that help foment bias in our the culture. Perry lamented that gays could serve in the military but children supposedly couldn't pray in schools. Bachmann's past, including comparing gays to Satan, followed her into the campaign, along with her husband's "pray away the gay" program. Gingrich railed with all manner of all religious condemnations. Santorum -- where do we begin? -- said that having same-sex parents is worse than having a parent in prison.

Every time anti-gay sentiment is spewed by politicians, there are young gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people who witness it and feel that much more worthless and rejected. Parallel to the hate we've seen coming from GOP politicians over the past year or so were the reports of suicides of LGBT teens due to bullying. You don't have to be a social scientist to connect the hate coming from prominent figures in our culture with that spewed by the bullies in our schools and by the bashers in our streets.

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