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Mother of Gay Son Asks Santorum & His Wife How to Handle Her 'Sense of Guilt' Over Supporting Him

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"Oh, Rick Santorum hates gays."

On Monday, Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum and his wife, Karen, listened to some statements and then received a tough question from a supporter in South Carolina whose son is gay.

Considering Santorum's stance against same-sex marriage (he's opposed), the woman expressed the internal conflict she has between her support for Santorum and the perception that the gay community has of the former senator.

"I debated for the longest time how to handle my support of you, because what he's been hearing is, 'oh, Rick Santorum hates gays,'" she explained, after telling the couple that her son is gay. "Interesting enough, [my son and I] had a short conversation and he said 'well actually, I don't have any problems with his stance on gay marriage, because I don't believe in gay marriage.'"

The woman went on to say, though, that she has a "sense of guilt" because her son's friends "react to what they hear." She seemed to be struggling with her support in light of the way it made her look in the eyes of her son and his friends.

"How do I deal with that?," she asked.

Karen seemed prepared and ready to answer the question, as she delved right in to both defend her husband's record. She began her response by claiming that it's "very sad" what gay activists have done to tarnish her husband's image.

"They've vilified him," Karen said. "Rick does not hate anyone. He loves them. What he has simply said is marriage shouldn't happen."

Then, Rick jumped in and attempted to make his opinions clearer on the matter, while flatly denying that his views constitute a personal attack on the gay community.

"There's all sorts of other relationships that people have, and they are valuable relationships -- whether they are amorous relationships or friendship relationships or familial relationships -- they're all important, they all have value they  allshould be affirmed," he said. "But that does not mean that we should change the laws to order -- to create an atmosphere where children and families are not being promoted."

Watch this interaction, below:

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