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The Most Ironic Moment Of The First Republican Debate, Courtesy Of Rick Santorum

CREDIT: AP PHOTO/JEFF ROBERSON
CREDIT: AP PHOTO/JEFF ROBERSON

During Thursday night’s Fox News second-tier GOP debate, notorious marriage equality opponent Rick Santorum momentarily forgot that he does not actually support equal rights for all Americans.

“The reason America is a great country, the reason is because our compassion is in our laws,” the former Pennsylvania senator said in response to a question asking whether or not he would separate immigrant families through deportation. “When we treat everyone equally under the law, that’s when we feel good about being Americans.”

When the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in June, Santorum responded to the ruling by citing the Court’s Dred Scott decision as proof that it makes mistakes. “Today, five unelected justices decided to redefine the foundational unit that binds together our society without public debate or input,” he said in a statement. “Now is the people’s opportunity respond because the future of the institution of marriage is too important to not have a public debate.”

In 2012, Santorum attracted national attention for running a presidential campaign comparing same-sex marriage to inanimate objects. He once told a gay man that he didn’t deserve the “privilege” of marriage because his same-sex relationship does not benefit society in the same way an opposite-sex marriage does.

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Gay and lesbian individuals are not the only people Santorum believes do not deserve equality under the law. The candidate also opposed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 which restored protection against pay discrimination under federal law.