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School Cancels Santorum Speech over Marriage Views

By Todd Starnes

A Michigan high school canceled a speech by former Sen. Rick Santorum after teachers became outraged over his opposition to gay marriage and threatened to stage protests and a possible work stoppage.

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Santorum had been invited to deliver a upcoming speech on leadership by the Young Americans for Freedom chapter at Gross Pointe South High School. But the speech was canceled on Monday after the school district’s superintendent heard from angry teachers.

“It’s a sad day when liberal educators are allowed to influence young minds – extending free speech rights only to those who share their liberal views,” Santorum said in a statement posted on Patriot Voices. “This has nothing to do with the content of a speech, but rather the context of my convictions.”

Langston Bowens with former Sen. Rick Santorum

Langston Bowens with former Sen. Rick Santorum

Adam Tragone, a spokesman for Young America’s Foundation, told Fox News they were very disappointed in the decision to cancel Santorum’s address.

“Most of the teachers were outraged by some of the senator’s statements about marriage,” he said. “The superintendent took these concerns very seriously and said he found Mr. Santorum’s stances on marriage very divisive and extreme.”

Thomas Harwood, superintendent of the Gross Pointe Public School System, did not return telephone calls seeking comment.

Langston Bowens, 18, the president of the YAF chapter, told Fox News that he’s not surprised by the campus outrage.

“They flooded my principal’s office and complained about how this bigoted, racist homophobic speaker was going to come to our school,” he said. “They were very offended. They threatened protests. They threatened not to show up to work – because he’s a conservative.”

Bowens said the young conservative student worked hard to raise the money to bring Santorum to campus and the school’s principal actually signed off on the address.

It was the superintendent, he said, that pulled the plug.

“Our school is liberal and not very conservative-friendly,” the teenager told Fox News. “We’re called bigoted, racist and stupid because we are conservatives.”

Although, Bowens said he can’t help but laugh when someone calls him a racist – that’s because he’s African-American.

“It’s really funny to hear that phrase – ‘bigoted and racist’—when you are a conservative black American,” he said.

Tragone said it’s sad that Gross Pointe teachers don’t want to expose their students to different opinions.

“Their job is to teach the students and cultivate minds – certainly to be the mediator of discussions,” he said. “It seems they don’t want to do that. They don’t want his opinions even articulated.”

Santorum said in his statement that he does support traditional marriage – between one man and one woman.

“I’m not sure what the administrators in the Gross Pointe Public School System are afraid of, but these students deserve the respect to form their own opinion on this important issue,” Santorum said.

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