Santorum Feeling Picked On by Google

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday September 22, 2011

Rick Santorum, whose comparison of physical affection between same-sex committed life partners to "man on dog" sex raised the ire of the GLBT community years ago, suggests that Google, having allowed his name to be linked with sexual activity between men, is an example of discrimination, reported Politico on Sept. 20.

According to the former senator and current hopeful for the Republican nomination for next year's presidential race, he's been targeted for being a conservative, rather than for the obscene and inappropriate comparison between gay families and bestiality.

"I suspect if something was up there like that about Joe Biden, they'd get rid of it," Santorum said in the Politico article. "If you're a responsible business, you don't let things like that happen in your business that have an impact on the country."

Google has reportedly turned away Santorum's request that the search result that appears when his name is entered be deleted.

"To have a business allow that type of filth to be purveyed through their website or through their system is something that they say they can't handle but I suspect that's not true," Santorum added in his remarks to Politico.

"It's rare for Google to remove content from its search results," the Politico story noted.

"Google's search results are a reflection of the content and information that is available on the web," a Google spokesperson told Politico. "Users who want content removed from the Internet should contact the webmaster of the page directly.

"Once the webmaster takes the page down from the web, it will be removed from Google's search results through our usual crawling process," added the Google spokesperson.

The article noted that Santorum had registered his displeasure on previous occasions. Until now however, he had not asked Google directly to change the search results for his name. offered a rundown of what happened after Santorum made his remarks in 2003. Openly gay columnist and GLBT equality advocate Dan Savage spearheaded an online push to enter and popularize the new definition of Santorum's name.

"Through SEO tactics and link-trading, they were able to push a website called to the very top of the Google search results for 'Rick Santorum,' " the article recalled.

The result that Google offers when Santorum's name is entered into its search function is as follows:

"1. The frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex. 2. Senator Rick Santorum."

Savage has remained unrepentant, and has gone a step further by making a video on FunnyOrDie in which he talks about similarly creating a new online definition for the name "Rick," reported.

In the video, Savage addresses Santorum, saying that the former senator is now running for president with what's become known as a "Google problem" associated with his name.

"I know you think I came down pretty hard on you, Rick," Savage says, "but I think I displayed remarkable restraint. I only redefined your last name. I could have redefined your first name. I could have redefined your first name, too."

Adds Savage a beat later, "I still could."

Savage then proposes a deal with the famously anti-gay politician: "I won't redefine 'Rick' if you don't attack gay people during your campaign."

"Last month, Santorum complained in an interview with The Hill newspaper that the gay community had 'gone out on a jihad' against him for his position against same-sex marriage," reported Politico.

In August, Santorum joined Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann in signing on to a campaign pledge issued by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) stating that if any signatory won the presidency, he or she would pursue a Constitutional amendment to limit marriage to heterosexuals and also would set up a committee to investigate GLBT Americans with respect to claims by anti-gay organizations such as NOM that their supporters have been subjected to harassment and intimidation.

The current frontrunners in the crowded field of prospective Republican nominees -- Rick Perry, Romney, and Bachmann -- all say that they would favor an anti-gay amendment to the United States Constitution to prevent same-sex families from accessing marriage at either the federal or state level.

Currently, six states offer marriage equality. Gay and lesbian families in another state, California, where marriage rights were yanked from same-sex couples following a razor-thin majority approval on the anti-gay ballot question Proposition 8 in 2008, are allowed to remain married if they tied the knot before the referendum was approved. They may not re-marry, however, and gay and lesbian families who missed the six-month window of marriage equality in California are also left with only the option of entering into a civil union.

An anti-gay law from 1996, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), bars any federal recognition at all for gay and lesbian families, and also allows states to ignore the "full faith and credit" clause of the Constitution when it comes to civil marriages.

A federal court case last year found Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional. Two other rulings in federal court found portions of DOMA to be unconstitutional as well. In light of those doubts about Constitutional muster, the Obama Administration has announced that it will no longer defend DOMA in federal court.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.