Tea Party Audience Boos Gay Soldier at GOP Debate
Last night was the night of the Fox-Google GOP debate, notable for the just-like-getting-a-gchat beep that went off whenever anyone talked too long, as well as a moment in which Stephen Hill, a gay soldier serving in Iraq, asked Rick Santorum whether he'd circumvent the progress that's been made for gay soldiers in the military with the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell. Hill was then booed by the Tea Party audience. Watch here.
From the transcript of the debate:
Hill: "In 2010, when I was deployed to Iraq, I had to lie about who I was, because I'm a gay soldier, and I didn't want to lose my job. "My question is, under one of your presidencies, do you intend to circumvent the progress that's been made for gay and lesbian soldiers in the military?"
Santorum: "Yeah, I -- I would say, any type of sexual activity has absolutely no place in the military. And the fact that they're making a point to include it as a provision within the military that we are going to recognize a group of people and give them a special privilege to -- to -- and removing 'don't ask/don't tell' I think tries to inject social policy into the military. And the military's job is to do one thing, and that is to defend our country.
"We need to give the military, which is all-volunteer, the ability to do so in a way that is most efficient at protecting our men and women in uniform."
"And I believe this undermines that ability."
Santorum, who generously said he would not expel the soldier who asked the question (and served in Iraq), went on to say that he would reinstitute DADT if he became president, and, the policy would be to "keep it to yourself, whether you're a heterosexual or a homosexual."
Because, of course, there are years and years of historical precedent in which heterosexual guys in the military have kept their sexuality completely and totally to themselves. Booing for gay rights and cheering for executions: America!
"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?"
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.