A question from a gay soldier was met with boos during Thursday night’s Fox News Republican presidential debate.
“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,” Stephen Hill, a U.S. soldier serving Iraq, told the candidates. “Under one of your presidencies, do you intend to circumvent the progress that have been made for gay and lesbian soldiers in the military?”
The question was met by loud boos from the audience of Republican voters.
But those boos quickly turned to enthusiastic cheers as Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum explained that gays shouldn’t have the “special privilege” of being able to serve openly.
“Going forward, we would reinstitute [the gay ban] if Rick Santorum was president. That policy would be reinstituted. But as far as the people that are in, I would not throw them out be unfair to them because they policy of this administration, but we would move forward in conformity with what was happening in the past, which was sex is not an issue. It should not be an issue. Leave it alone, keep it to yourself, heterosexual or homosexual.”
The conservative gay rights group GOProud immediately called for an apology from Santorum.
“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,” the group wrote in a media advisory. “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.”
Watch this video from Fox News, broadcast Sept. 22, 2011.