Discuss as:

Santorum gets 'metaphysical' on gay marriage

By NBC's Jo Ling Kent

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Rick Santorum took an unusual diversion from his stump speech on the campaign trail here on Tuesday as he paused for a moment to get "metaphysical" with voters about his opposition to same-sex marriage.
 
After ticking off his usual talking points on the issue -- the importance of family, morality and religion -- Santorum paused in search of a prop within reach to drive his position home. Pointing to a brown paper napkin on a nearby table, Santorum told voters in nearby Iowa Falls that calling gay marriage a marriage is like calling a napkin a paper towel.
 
"This is a napkin. I can call this napkin a paper towel, but it is a napkin," Santorum declared at the local Hy-Vee grocery store.
 
"You can it whatever you want but it doesn't change the character of what it is to the metaphysical," he continued.  "Now we can call it marriage but doesn't make it marriage," Santorum concluded, shaking the napkin in mid-air.
 
Santorum's metaphors go beyond paper products. The former senator has also used a water versus beer analogy to make his point. In a video from the Des Moines Register posted on C-SPAN today, Santorum said marriage is like a glass of water, not beer.
 
"It's like saying this glass of water is a glass of beer. Well, you can call it a glass of beer, but it's not a glass of beer. It's a glass of water. And water is what water is. Marriage is what marriage is," said Santorum , who defines it as a union between a man and woman.  
 
In another appearance Tuesday, Santorum delivered a more muddled message on the issue, reports NBC's Alex Moe.  First he told voters, "We can't have 50 marriage laws in this country...it's not equal treatment under the law."  But moments later, he said he would not seek to tell states what to do despite his opinion: "I'm against gay marriage but you know I'm not going to tell the states what to do."