Why Would a Lesbian Support Rick Santorum?

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Feb. 24 2012 1:00 PM

What a Lesbian Sees in Rick Santorum

139559222
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum waves as he arrives to the debate hall on February 22, 2012 in Mesa, Arizona.

Photo by DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images

Since Rick Santorum has taken a divisive, prominent stand against abortion and contraception, and he's been especially vocal on those topics in the past few weeks, one might expect his star to be on the wane among Republican women. But just the opposite is true: More GOP women are turning towards the former Pennsylvania Senator—his popularity among them has risen more than 10 points since last month. While he's still less popular among women than Romney is, I assumed that women who heart Santorum would be the extremely pro-life ones who appreciated his "walking the walk" when it comes to abortion (his wife kept a baby even though prenatal testing showed that the child would be born with a rare chromosomal disorder) and contraception (the Santorums have seven kids).

Certainly there are female Santorum supporters who do appreciate the candidate for living out his principles in that way. But Slate's Dave Weigel did a fascinating series of interviews with voters who are supporting Rick Santorum in Arizona, and these interviews show that there seem to be three main reasons why women voters are liking what Santorum is selling: the aforementioned pro life bona fides, that Santorum is the "authentic" conservative, anti-Romney choice, and that contraception and abortion just aren't huge issues to many women. As The New York Times Caucus blog points out, social issues don't tend to be major issues for voters who are not on ideological extremes.

Advertisement

On that last point, Weigel spoke to a retired lesbian named Cathy Wharton who said she was voting for Santorum. The candidate's anti-gay marriage stance didn't seem to be an issue for her, and she doesn't care about his statements on abortion and contraception. "I’ve been in a relationship with the same woman for 31 years. There are those of us who are gay who aren’t too bothered by Santorum on those issues," she explains. She prefers Santorum because he's not a flip flopper like Romney (and because he's not a Mormon). After reading that, the only response I can muster is, it takes all kinds, I suppose.

Jessica Grose is a frequent Slate contributor and the author of the novel Sad Desk Salad. Follow her on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

The World

The Budget Disaster that Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

How Movies Like Contagion and Outbreak Distort Our Response to Real Epidemics

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

Everything You Should Know About Today’s Eclipse

An Unscientific Ranking of Really, Really Old German Beers

Education

Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.

Culturebox

The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
  Business
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
  Life
Lexicon Valley
Oct. 23 2014 10:30 AM Which Came First, the Word Chicken or the Word Egg?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Working
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 23 2014 11:34 AM Louis C.K. Crashes a Brad Pitt Interview on Between Two Ferns
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 23 2014 11:45 AM The United States of Reddit  How social media is redrawing our borders. 
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 23 2014 7:30 AM Our Solar System and Galaxy … Seen by an Astronaut
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.