Santorum talks social issues

Last modified: 11/5/2011 12:00:00 AM
Taxes and the economy shouldn't be getting all the attention in the presidential primary, Republican Rick Santorum told an Iowa audience yesterday. It's time, he said, to talk social issues, like reinstating a ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military.

Santorum said the United States was founded on its faith, and the current presidential debate should not ignore that, the Associated Press reported. In addition to bringing back Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Santorum would also bar chaplains from performing same-sex ceremonies on military bases. And he wants a federal law permitting prayer in schools and a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and abortion.

While the GOP contest has mainly focused on the struggling economy and efforts to put Americans back to work, Santorum said the debate should not ignore questions of values. He said the country was founded on its Christian beliefs that could help fix the ailing economy.

"If you want to get this economy going . . . having just a little bit of support for marriage and families and fatherhood would be a huge step toward that," Santorum said.

Santorum's social agenda also favors teaching abstinence-only sexual education courses in school and ending taxpayer spending on abortions.

As the New Hampshire Executive Council did earlier this year, Santorum would eliminate all federal funding to organizations like Planned Parenthood that also provides abortions. While the group provides other health services, Santorum said it would receive zero taxpayer dollars under his administration for any of its work, such as cancer screenings.

In the most recent Des Moines Register poll, Santorum earned 5 percent support in Iowa, but he's hoping traditional retail politics and hard work will pay off.

ABC News reported online that Santorum spoke passionately, and the crowd in Urbandale, a suburb of Des Moines, applauded enthusiastically, especially when he spoke about banning abortion and same-sex marriage.


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