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Late Night: Rick Santorum, Jon Stewart sound off on gay marriage

 

On Tuesday, the people of North Carolina voted by a wide margin to outlaw same-sex marriages and civil unions in their state. Although this outcome was predicted by pollsters, it was still a stunning setback for gay-rights advocates, especially given their recent victories in New York and New Hampshire.

This gaping ideological divide was evident on Tuesday's late-night talk shows. On "The Tonight Show," Jay Leno grilled former presidential candidate Rick Santorum about his views on various social issues, including contraception, abortion and, of course, gay marriage.

Wearing his trademark sweater vest, Santorum defended traditional marriage on the grounds that "children need moms and dads" and that "men and women ... bring different attributes” to a relationship. (Tellingly, he didn't acknowledge the possibility that a couple, gay or otherwise, might want to get married but not have children.)

Leno is not known for being a relentless interrogator, but when Santorum expressed his opposition to gay adoption, he pushed back. "I have friends, gay parents, some women, some men, that are wonderful parents and they adopt children, and these children seem very happy," Leno said.

He also asked why, in the face of widespread economic woes, Santorum put such emphasis on social issues. "It’s the culture, not the economy," he replied, a quote that, were he still running for president, would no doubt come back to haunt him.

Over on "The Daily Show," it was a different story. Vice President Joe Biden recently made the frank -- and quite possibly accidental -- admission that he is "absolutely comfortable" with gay marriage. Stewart was less surprised by Biden's "straightforward sentiment" than by the three days of White House spin and media speculation that ensued.

Stewart instead directed particular scorn at White House press secretary Jay Carney, who attempted to downplay the apparent difference of opinion between Biden and President Obama on the subject of gay marriage.

Likening Carney's evasive statements to a "zen koan," Stewart paraphrased him this way: "The vice president’s new position is consistent with the president’s position, which has not changed, and is also changing."

Confused? You're not the only one.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Joe Biden Voices His Support for Gay Marriage
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— Meredith Blake
twitter.com/MeredithBlake

 
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