GOP Debate: Audience Boos Gay Army Soldier Asking Santorum About DADT (Video)


Editor's Note: Please read our update to this important story: For Santorum Gays In The Military Reveals Commander In Chief Inadequacy.

At Thursday night's Fox News/Google Republican debate, one question, posted to YouTube, came from a U.S. Army soldier serving in Iraq. Stephen Hill, donning a gray tee-shirt emblazoned with the word "ARMY" on the front, asked Rick Santorum if he would try to "circumvent the progress" that has been made in allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly, effectively reinstating Don't Ask, Don't Tell. The audience actually booed him. Hill, apparently, is gay, and was concerned for his future. The idea that anyone would actually "boo" a U.S. service member, serving his country, risking his life in Iraq, is beyond comprehension. "Do you plan to circumvent the progress that has been made for gay and lesbian soldiers in the military?" The crowd booed. Yes, on the heels of GOP debates during which the audience cheered Rick Perry's death penalty execution record, another GOP debate during which the audience cheered the idea of allowing an uninsured man to die. And once again, none of the Republican candidates for president responded to the audience members who voiced their offensive opinions. For the record, Santorum said, "Any type of sexual activity has no place in the military," and added "Keep it to yourself, whether you're heterosexual or homosexual." Santorum admitted he would force lesbian, gay, and bisexual soldiers servicing their country back in the closet. "What we're doing is playing social experimentation with our country right now and that's tragic." Santorum also said repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell was "giving [gays] a special privilege." Talking Points Memo adds, "The cringe-worthy moment has become something of a trend at the Republican presidential debates this year." GOProud, a gay Tea Party organization, issued this statement immediately following the debate:
"Tonight, Rick Santorum disrespected our brave men and women in uniform, and he owes Stephen Hill, the gay soldier who asked him the question about Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal, an immediate apology. "That brave gay soldier is doing something Rick Santorum has never done - put his life on the line to defend our freedoms and our way of life.  It is telling that Rick Santorum is so blinded by his anti-gay bigotry that he couldn't even bring himself to thank that gay soldier for his service. "Stephen Hill is serving our country in Iraq, fighting a war Senator Santorum says he supports.  How can Senator Santorum claim to support this war if he doesn't support the brave men and women who are fighting it?"
LGBT | POV adds a quote from R. Clarke Cooper of the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay GOP organization:
"Santorum's shameful response to the combat soldier's question regarding open service was incoherent and out of touch. America's uniformed leaders support gays and lesbians serving alongside their colleagues with dignity and respect. Santorum's divisive and homophobic remarks do not befit a commander-in-chief."
Don't Ask, Don't Tell banned gay, lesbian, and bisexual soldiers from serving their country. During it's almost two-decade long life, America grew to despise the law, with 70% to 78% of the country wanting its repeal.

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