The former Senator has sparked past controversies over opposition to gay rights
Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, whose past opposition to gay rights has sparked backlash from LGBT rights groups, spoke Saturday in support of Bruce Jenner after the Olympian and TV personality came out publicly as transgender.
Santorum told reporters at a Republican convention in South Carolina that “if [Jenner] says he’s a woman, then he’s a woman,” CBS News reports. “My responsibility as a human being is to love and accept everybody. Not to criticize people for who they are.” The former lawmaker is said to be eyeing a 2016 presidential bid after losing the 2012 Republican nomination to Mitt Romney.
“I can criticize, and I do, for what people do, for their behavior. But as far as for who they are, you have to respect everybody, and these are obviously complex issues for businesses, for society,” Santorum said. “And I think we have to look at it in a way that is compassionate and respectful of everybody.”
The politician’s support of Jenner’s transition arrives two weeks after Santorum made headlines for stating he would not attend a same-sex marriage of a friend or family member, as it would be a “a violation of [his] faith.”