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wThursday, April 24, 2003

Dean on Wolf Blitzer Reports
BLITZER: Let's move to another subject that you raised earlier today, you called on Republican Senator Santorum, Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania to step down because the comments he made about gays.

Tell our viewers precisely what your position is?

DEAN: The Republican party is dividing us by race or income or gender or religion, in this case sexual orientation. Gay people are people first and gay second. And most people's fears about gays is not understanding anything about gays. Gay people are people. There are gay people in Iraq now fighting for the United States of America, they deserve to be treated with the same respect that every other American deserves to be treated with. And I'm tired of having the right wing Republican party make hay by beating up on various minority groups so they can feed their right wing base.

BLITZER: Well, listen to how he responded, he basicly said if you have a problem with him, you have a problem with U.S. Supreme Court, listen to this.


SEN. RICK SANTORUM (R), PENNSYLVANIA: To suggest that my comments which are the law of the land and were the reason the Supreme Court decided in 1986 is somehow intolerant, I just would argue that it is not. It is simply a reflection of the law. Obviously, I can't represent everybody's viewpoint. I mean, there are a variety of different viewpoints in the room. My job is to respect everybody's viewpoint, and I do. I respect your point of view.


BLITZER: He was speaking directly to a gay person in the audience who complained about his comments. Go ahead, governor.

DEAN: I don't think this has to do with point of view. I think it has to do with basic respect. Until every single American is equal under the law in this country, then I don't think the country is as great as it could be. Just ask people, you know, almost everybody in America knows someone in someone's family who is gay. And all appeal for is a little bit respect and tolerance in understanding. When you come to know people they're people first and whatever category they might fit into later on.

I think Senator Santorum and the administration have done this country a disservice by, again, dividing us, whether it's by race, as the president did by using the word, quota, which wasn't true or whether it's by sexual orientation or gender or whatever it is, they've got to stop that. We have got to bring the country together as a community, and you don't get there by making intolerant comments that single out particular minorities.

posted by Matthew Carroll-Schmidt at 11:36 AM

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