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article imageGay soldier booed at Florida GOP debate on 'Don't Ask Don't Tell'

By Joan Firstenberg     Sep 23, 2011 in Politics
Orlando - A homosexual soldier, Stephen Hill who delivered a question about Don't Ask, Don't Tell on video to the GOP presidential debate panel in Orlando Thursday night was greeted by boos and jeers, and no response from the candidates.
The soldier in Iraq had concerns. Wearing his gray Army T-shirt in the video, Stephen Hill asked the candidates about the recent repeal of the 1993 law that forbid military men and women from serving openly in the military.
But The New York Daily News reports that as soon as the video ended, with him asking...
"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?"
...the candidates said nothing. But the audience at first let out a few boos, which then increased to jeers, and the negative noise level increased.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum was asked to answer the question and told the group that the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" provision should be reinstated.
"Any type of sexual activity has no place in the military. The overturn of DADT, which went into affect this week, was playing social experimentation with our country. Leave it alone, keep it to yourself, whether you are a heterosexual or a homosexual."
The crowd liked that opinion and then proceeded to erupt into applause. Santorum is not alone in his beliefs on this. Several of the Republican presidential candidates have previously made it clear that they too would reinstate DADT.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, during the GOP primary debate in June, said he would keep the policy in place "until the conflict was over," And Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann has said she would also keep DADT in place.
The Hill blog reports that this was not the first time a Republican audience has had a this kind of reaction during a GOP debate and the candidates have stayed mum. At the last debate, a question came up whether a dying man who had no health insurance should be allowed to die, and many in the audience clapped, cheered and shouted "yes." And no candidate responded to that either.
GOProud, a group that represents gay conservatives, was not at all pleased with Santorum's response, insisting that now, he owes Hill an apology.
"Tonight, Rick Santorum disrespected our brave men and women in uniform. 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."
Mr. Fox contributed this comment on the Hill site to this story.
Another embarrassing GOP crowd moment. Disgraceful booing of a serving soldier.
More about gay soldier, Gop debate, Booing
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